Red Bull could face boycott wave: Thai media

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Austrian-Thai company Red Bull could be forced to deal with a wave of boycotts of its energy drink and the sports event it sponsors as a result of the unresolved fatal hit-and-run case involving wealthy Thai company heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya in 2012.

Vorayuth stands accused of having crashed his Ferrari into a motorcycle ridden by a police officer in Bangkok in the early morning hours of September 3, 2012, under the influence and killed the man, but has never been brought to court. He reportedly continued his jet-set life style and ignored summons over five years.

Thai police, facing increasing criticism that the Thai justice system seems to favour the rich and wealthy, only this April took action and revoked the passport of Vorayuth who is still on the run and whose last trace was that he entered Singapore on April 25 and abandoned his private jet there.

While Thai media so far were reluctant in criticising the delayed case, the international attention it got seemed to have changed this stance.

In social media, a number of pages featuring boycott calls have appeared, for example Boycott Red Bull. The case is also being discussed in popular online forums like Thaivisa.

Widely-read English language newspaper The Nation in an editorial on May 9 said that

“Red Bull must realise there are possible commercial consequences stemming from Vorayuth Yoovidhya’s flight from the law… Red Bull is a major, internationally recognised brand, but its reputation is now imperilled by a situation that ought to have been resolved years ago.”

“The firm would be making a mistake if it assumes calls for a boycott of the ‘energy drink’ and the racing events it sponsors will recede away. Public fury over high-profile crimes like this often fades with time in Thailand, but that doesn’t happen in the West, including most countries where Red Bull is marketed.”

Indeed, European media, among them many German and Austrian newspapers and broadcasters reported extensively about he case. Last week, Austrian state broadcaster ORF, a number of tabloids and a popular news portal in Salzburg where Red Bull’s headquarter is located, brought articles about the latest developments in the case, and readers placed comments mocking the brand’s slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” in a nod to the rich heir’s absconding.

Red Bull was originally inspired by a domestic Thai energy drink named Krating Daeng, which was first sold in Thailand by Chaleo Yoovidhya, Vorayuth’s grandfather. It was brought to Europe and further developed into a trendy drink sold in an iconic red, silver and blue can by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz, at first in Austria in 1987 and later worldwide.

Chaleo Yoovidhya and Mateschitz founded a company in which they originally held 49 per cent each and which quickly made them billionaires. The remaining two per cent are held Chaleo’s son Chalerm. After Chaleo’s death in 2012, his stake was passed on to the ten family members, including Vorayuth.

Red Bull sells more than six billion cans in over 169 countries globally every year and generates around $8 billion in annual revenue. Sports promotions on a large scale has made the brand one of the most valuable consumer brand worldwide.

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Austrian-Thai company Red Bull could be forced to deal with a wave of boycotts of its energy drink and the sports event it sponsors as a result of the unresolved fatal hit-and-run case involving wealthy Thai company heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya in 2012. Vorayuth stands accused of having crashed his Ferrari into a motorcycle ridden by a police officer in Bangkok in the early morning hours of September 3, 2012, under the influence and killed the man, but has never been brought to court. He reportedly continued his jet-set life style and ignored summons over five years. Thai police, facing increasing...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Austrian-Thai company Red Bull could be forced to deal with a wave of boycotts of its energy drink and the sports event it sponsors as a result of the unresolved fatal hit-and-run case involving wealthy Thai company heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya in 2012.

Vorayuth stands accused of having crashed his Ferrari into a motorcycle ridden by a police officer in Bangkok in the early morning hours of September 3, 2012, under the influence and killed the man, but has never been brought to court. He reportedly continued his jet-set life style and ignored summons over five years.

Thai police, facing increasing criticism that the Thai justice system seems to favour the rich and wealthy, only this April took action and revoked the passport of Vorayuth who is still on the run and whose last trace was that he entered Singapore on April 25 and abandoned his private jet there.

While Thai media so far were reluctant in criticising the delayed case, the international attention it got seemed to have changed this stance.

In social media, a number of pages featuring boycott calls have appeared, for example Boycott Red Bull. The case is also being discussed in popular online forums like Thaivisa.

Widely-read English language newspaper The Nation in an editorial on May 9 said that

“Red Bull must realise there are possible commercial consequences stemming from Vorayuth Yoovidhya’s flight from the law… Red Bull is a major, internationally recognised brand, but its reputation is now imperilled by a situation that ought to have been resolved years ago.”

“The firm would be making a mistake if it assumes calls for a boycott of the ‘energy drink’ and the racing events it sponsors will recede away. Public fury over high-profile crimes like this often fades with time in Thailand, but that doesn’t happen in the West, including most countries where Red Bull is marketed.”

Indeed, European media, among them many German and Austrian newspapers and broadcasters reported extensively about he case. Last week, Austrian state broadcaster ORF, a number of tabloids and a popular news portal in Salzburg where Red Bull’s headquarter is located, brought articles about the latest developments in the case, and readers placed comments mocking the brand’s slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” in a nod to the rich heir’s absconding.

Red Bull was originally inspired by a domestic Thai energy drink named Krating Daeng, which was first sold in Thailand by Chaleo Yoovidhya, Vorayuth’s grandfather. It was brought to Europe and further developed into a trendy drink sold in an iconic red, silver and blue can by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz, at first in Austria in 1987 and later worldwide.

Chaleo Yoovidhya and Mateschitz founded a company in which they originally held 49 per cent each and which quickly made them billionaires. The remaining two per cent are held Chaleo’s son Chalerm. After Chaleo’s death in 2012, his stake was passed on to the ten family members, including Vorayuth.

Red Bull sells more than six billion cans in over 169 countries globally every year and generates around $8 billion in annual revenue. Sports promotions on a large scale has made the brand one of the most valuable consumer brand worldwide.

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