Brands do flirt! Part 3

BISON flirts with Code Red

In 2004, almost every energy drink brand in Saudi Arabia followed the tradition of Red Bull packaging (Silver and Blue) so to the general audience it meant Energy Drink. Since Colors do communicate in Branding, it was decided that in order to compete with the local giants such as Bison (a local Saudi Brand), Differentiation on three different fronts was needed: Product (Name, Ingredients, Packaging), Price and Channels of Distribution

Back then, I worked on developing the Brand and strategy for a local Energy drink called Code Red along with Full Stop agency, the primary points I suggested to my client were that in the development phase:

  • 1st thing to do is to Differentiate the Taste (Product)
  • 2nd is to break away from the prevailing Color culture of Energy drinks i.e. Silver and Blue (Packaging/Brand/Color Identity)
  • 3rd is to choose a name that will create a simple understanding to the public (Branding by targeting the right psychological plane of the Target Audience which translates into action)
  • 4th is to improve Distribution channels from lower trade to upper trade since Code Red is a Mass Market Brand

Naming the brand away from the common Energy drink names and imagery such as of a Bison, Bull, Horse or Cows, it was decided to name the brand ‘CODE RED’. Since 2005, Code Red spent less than $ 20,000 on Advertising , today it’s one of the leading brands in the Kingdom with market share of 34%, while others brands such as Bison, Bugsy and others made efforts to replicate the identity of CODE RED (Red and/or Black), either briefly or on a permanent basis

This success story is a result of Brand Fertility

P.S. I never did advise my client to Advertise but they did so once on their own by securing a billboard in Jeddah at a cost of SR. 800,000 ($ 213,000). That was the first and last time Code Red ever advertised on their own

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on

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