This month in marketing strategies you didn't see coming: seniors enjoying the 'benefits' of energy shots. Typically, consumer marketers target the youngest consumers possible for their category. The goal: building a lifetime bond with a consumer (one they'll eventually share with their children), or connecting with a younger, tech-obsessed, social media-savvy consumer who can spread the good word about your product and brand.
That's what makes 5-Hour Energy's new connection with seniors so interesting. Does it mean that energy shot sales have peaked? Or is this a genuine trend of seniors looking for richer, more active lives? It's difficult for me to picture someone's great grandmother at an elderly care home watching television while sipping a 5-Hour Energy, but who knows? As with anything involving energy drinks, there is both enthusiasm and skepticism. What you can't refute however, are sales: 5-Hour Energy's sales are close to topping the $1B mark.
Speaking of billions in sales, a recent Businessweek profile of Red Bull energy drink (sales of $5B annually, and counting!) founder Dietrich Mateschitz caught my attention, not just because it reads largely like a love letter to Mateschitz's modus operandi, but because of the reporter's conjecture that Red Bull might not survive the loss of the 70-year-old Mateschitz (check out the articles third to last paragraph). The media has speculated the same about brands like Apple and Giorgio Armani, both so singularly identified with their founders and leaders. It's a question that will only be answered when it happens.
But back to Red Bull's new vision... a global, multi-media assault that marries the cult of Red Bull to traditional and new media platforms but still shouts the same message: Red Bull = performance. In a world where everyone is now a content provider, it's a brilliant strategy.
As an entrepreneur, I can vouch for the fact that your vision for the company and brand informs every facet of operations. If you're the kind of entrepreneur who pushes the envelop constantly and inspires new ideas as much as you frustrate conservative employees, you're probably building a great brand. It's what we'd like to think we're doing at VeeV and the spirits industry could use more over-the-top visionaries like Mateschitz.