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Boston College: Red Bull’s red and gold logo can “give you wings” – for better or worse – even if consumers don’t know it, according to a new study by two BC professors, who found the brand’s edgy marketing efforts have sold a heavy dose of attitude to consumers.

Researchers put subjects at the controls of a car racing video game, supplying each with functionally identical racecars, but each car decorated with a different brand logo and color scheme. Players put in control of the Red Bull car displayed the characteristics often attributed to the brand – like speed, power, aggressiveness and risk-taking – and the results were both positive and negative. In some cases, the drivers sped around the game course. In others, their recklessness caused them to crash and lose valuable time.

“In a performance context, what we see is that people racing the Red Bull car race faster and more aggressively, sometimes recklessly, and they either do very, very well or they push themselves too far and crash,” said Brasel, an assistant professor of marketing. Full Story
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Paper: Red Bull “Gives You Wings” for better or worse: A double-edged impact of brand exposure on consumer performance, Brasel & Gips, Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2011

Other interesting research:
Are Good-Looking People More Employable?, Ruffle & Shtudiner, 2010

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