Red Bull Awards $50 Million U.S. Media Biz to Carat

Shop Bests WPP's MediaCom, Publicis Groupe's Optimedia

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Red Bull has awarded its $50 million U.S. media planning and buying account to Aegis' Carat, according to the agency. The shop beat out WPP's MediaCom and Publicis Groupe's Optimedia for the business.

The agency will handle planning and buying across online and offline channels for the company's complete line of products, events and programs. Independent shop Siltanen & Partners was the incumbent on the account. Select Resources International handled the review.

In a statement, Martin Cass, president of Carat, said: "Red Bull is a company we have long admired, and I am delighted they want to work with Carat. The consumer is at the heart of everything they do, and they execute brilliantly, which matches our approach and the way we are building our agency."

Red Bull spent nearly $54 million in domestic measured media in 2009, according to Kantar Media. The company's line of products includes Red Bull Energy Drink, Red Bull Energy Shots and Red Bull Cola.

The company sponsors athletes from a variety of sports, including extreme sport athlete and Olympic gold medal snowboarder Shaun White, Jimmy Rollins from Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies and professional golfer Camilo Villegas. It also sponsors events such as the Red Bull Rivals surfing event, Red Bull Flugtag and the Red Bull Spiked beach volleyball tournament.

As the leader of the nearly $3 billion energy-drink category, Red Bull controls 35% of the market from a dollar perspective. A report released earlier this month from market research firm Mintel shows that despite a dramatic 136% increase in sales from 2005 to 2009, the energy drink/shot category is having trouble bringing in new consumers. The Mintel report found that 74% of those surveyed said they don't consume energy drinks/shots while 69% said they don't have any interest in even trying them.

In March, Carat expanded its Pfizer duties when the pharma giant consolidated all of its media buying for Wyeth DTC with the agency. Later that same month, the shop also picked up the $100 million Beiresdorf planning and buying account back in March.

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