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Marketing Brand Strategy Ukraine

‘Red Bull Gives Putin Wings’: War protesters adapt iconic ad at drinks giant’s HQ


By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

November 24, 2022 | 4 min read

Outside Red Bull’s Salzburg headquarters, protesters have unveiled a 20x20m banner calling out the brand for operating in Russia – one of the biggest brands still doing so.

Red Bull

Russia invasion protesters drive ‘Red Bull Gives Putin Wings’ message at the Austria HQ

The stunt, enacted by the Ukraine Solidarity Project, accused Red Bull of giving Putin wings – a play on the famous brand catchphrase – by continuing to operate in the nation.

On the company website, Red Bull said it “suspended all marketing activities and new investments in Russia in early March and complies with all EU and US sanctions.” However, such action has left the drink on the shelves in the nation while the likes of Pepsi and Coca-Cola have pulled out.

Campaigners came to the Red Bull headquarters in Salzburg, Austria and accused security of being more “concerned about us stepping on their grass than they did about the war in Ukraine.”

It comes after Nobel Peace Prize-winning Oleksandra Matviichuk made a projected night-time plea to world champion Max Verstappen at the Red Bull F1 HQ in the UK, claiming that while the sport may be dangerous, it is not as dangerous as being a Ukrainian civilian.

“Max, you are a leading brand ambassador at Red Bull. Can you ask them why they are still for sale when so many brands pulled out? Why does Red Bull still continue to help Russia to finance this war? I do believe that Red Bull must abandon Russian money but not people.”

While the racing team operates as a separate brand from the drinks giant, there’s enough of a connection to drive home the message.

The Ukraine Solidarity Project said that Red Bull is “one of the world’s biggest brands, and its decision to stick with Putin’s Russia is highly significant. Companies that sell their products there are paying taxes to the Kremlin and signaling that they’re comfortable with the illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

The Drum has reached out to Red Bull for clarification and will update accordingly.

Marketing Brand Strategy Ukraine

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