Ethical Issues Encountered by Red Bull Red Bull has successfully implemented marketing strategies to appeal to their target market, mainly young consumers, throughout the world. This product is popular globably, and is sold in bars, night clubs and supermarkets. Red Bull may claim to “give you wings” but drinking too much of the popular energy drink may also lead to heart damage, as study suggests. Red Bull has repeatidly denied that their product is not dangerous and hazardous to the body.
In a statement, it said that Red Bull had been proved safe by “numerous scientific studies”, and that it had never been banned from anywhere it had been introduced. There has been much controversy surrounding its consumption which had resulted in its ban in many countries, namely Norway, Denmark and Uruguay because of their health fears. In Sweden, the drink could only be sold in pharmacies as the product was considered a medicine and therefore classified as a drug.
Sweden’s National Food Administration adopted this policy following the incident of a young woman who had consumed the product with alcohol and suffered from dehydration resulting in death. Greek health officials issued a warning to avoid mixing Red Bull with alcohol as a death was linked in Hong Kong, where a British man mixed it with vodka and had later died. Linda Rychter, a spokeswoman for Red Bull in Australia, said that the report would be assessed by the company’s head office in Austria. She also said, and I quote, “The study does not show effects which would go beyond that of drinking a cup of coffee.
Therefore, the reported results were to be expected and lie within the normal physiological range,” she added. She also responded by asserting that, and I quote “the company does not promote mixing the product with alcohol. ” Austria is among the few countries where warning labels on the product exist. Labels on cans require the health warning, “this drink is not recommended for children, pregnant women or individuals sensitive to caffeine. ” Red Bull has managed to fall through the regulatory cracks in many of its international markets and has used this to their advantage.
In the United States, for example, the Food and Drug Administration, did not issue any warnings for Red Bull despite suspicious correlations between the consumption of the drink and the deaths and injury of individuals. Additionally, research has not been conducted to prove health risks associated with Red Bull. The lack of cohesive information about the long term effects for teenagers and adolescents raises some ethical questions with regards to targeting young consumers. Consumers of the product are encouraged by the FDA and Red Bull’s officials to exercise “common sense” and not to misuse the product.
Several health experts in the United States and other countries believe there are potential harmful effects from Red Bull consumption, especially when mixed with alcohol. Medical experts claimed that alcohol is a depressant, which affects the nervous system, while caffeine along with other ingredients, is a stimulant. The combined effect can lead to heart failure. Consumers may use an excessive amount without realizing their intoxication. Compared to the size of the injury and death are extremely rare. Although they are highly successful, Red Bull’s long dangerous effects are still one hundred percent unknown.
The potential market success is tarnished by some basic ethical issues; is Red Bull really concerned about the health risks of its consumers? , is imarketing a product it knows is detrimental to the health of its consumers? , where is the line drawn between successful marketing strategies and corporate social responsibility? Red bull’s vague responses to these issues, raise our concerns about their ethical conducts. So, should Red Bull undergo stricter regulations as to the marketing and distribution of their product? will they continue to dominate the market with a potentially dangerous product expanding the market? Only time will tell if Red Bull’s market strategies and their conscience can bear the threat of regulations and investigations about these deaths around the world. Despite their knowledge about the harmful effects of their product, still they continue to make and distribute it throughout the world. Even in there television advertisements, there is no mentions of the harmful side effects that this product will cause after consumption.