The dashing prince, dressed in racing drivers’ overalls, took no fee for driving in the “Red Bull Ultimate Driver Race” outside the Royal Palace in Stockholm at the weekend, but pictures of him participating were splashed all over the next day’s tabloids, netting a real PR coup for the makers of the controversial beverage.
“This kind of thing is great marketing for us, and we are honoured that Prince Carl Philip wanted to take part,” admitted Red Bull’s helpful press officer David Ask to Dagens Nyheter, thereby guaranteeing that a ton of opprobium would land on on the young prince’s head.
And the criticism was not long coming.
“I think that the prince should stop turning up for commercialized jollies such as this – especially when it’s for such a controversial drink,” said Louise Ungerth of consumers organisation KSF.
She appeared to be referring to the fact that Red Bull is considered dangerous by some, who say that when combined with alcohol it can cause the heart to beat faster. There have even been reports of people dying as a result.
Such concerns have led to the drink being banned in Norway.
Red Bull, has also got into trouble in the past in Sweden for misleading advertising, which Ungerth said the company has not yet rectified. The company is well-known for the slogan that “Red Bull gives you wings.”
Royal press secretary Ann-Christine Jernberg was on message when Dagens Nyheter called.
“This was a well for Carl Philip to test his wings,” she told the paper, “ and not to promote Red Bull in any way.”