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Whatever happened to Tiger Energy Drink…

August 4, 2011

Tiger Energy Drink, a Polish brand launched by FoodCare company (formerly known as Gellwe) back in 2004 by agreement with Dariusz “Tiger” Michalczewski, a popular Polish ex-boxer who licensed FoodCare to use his nickname “Tiger” for the brand’s name in return for a percentage of the brand’s profits that was to be transferred to his charity foundation.  I described here the impressive story of Tiger’s rise to power until its volume market share in Poland overcame that of Red Bull in 2008.  FoodCare also managed to introduce Tiger Energy Drink into several European markets as well as the USA and Canada.  In 2010 FoodCare launched a new energy drink called N-Gine which was advertised by Robert Kubica, a popular Polish F-1 driver.

FoodCare's Tiger Black billboard ad / headline: Black is not a colour, Black is power!

Soon afterwards a new variant of Tiger, called Tiger Black, was also launched and FoodCare ceased to pay the license fee to Dariusz Michalczewski’s charity foundation claiming that Tiger Black is a new brand, not included in the agreement.  For Tiger Black’s advertising FoodCare often employed a slightly altered brand claim:  Power is Black  (Tiger’s original brand claim is:  Power is Back).


As a result Dariusz Michalczewski and his foundation renounced the license agreement with FoodCare and turned to another Polish company called Maspex Wadowice, a successful producer of fruit drinks and juices under Tymbark brand name.  Michalczewski and Maspex signed an agreement which allowed Maspex to produce and distribute Tiger Energy Drink.  Consequently, FoodCare and Maspex started a prolonged legal battle to secure rights to the valuable “Tiger” brand – at some point in the end of 2010 there were two rival Tiger drinks available in the shops, but eventually courts denied FoodCare the right to use the name “Tiger” for any drinks production.  Therefore FoodCare rebranded its Tiger Energy Drink into Black Energy Drink, while the packaging still bears the image of tiger’s head with a statement that the company supports tigers in Polish zoo gardens…

A few weeks ago FoodCare started a massive outdoor campaign to launch the rebranded Black Energy Drink – the billboards (example below) depict in a very literal way how the old, well-known Tiger’s can is replaced by the new Black Energy Drink‘s can.  The campaign underlines the fact that the original Tiger’s flavour is now available in the new packaging.

headline: The Original Flavour - now in the new can

Of course Dariusz Michalczewski claims that Black Energy Drink’s packaging is too similar to Tiger’s brand identity and believes that it can mislead the consumers.   It seems that a new legal battle between Michalczewski and FoodCare is under way.   Nevertheless, Maspex – the new licensed producer of Tiger Energy Drink – quickly followed in FoodCare’s footsteps with its own outdoor campaign that began in August 2011.

The lay-out of the advert obviously resembles the original Tiger’s colour identity with the dominating blue & silver, but showcases the new can design.  It also features the brand’s original tagline:  Power is back!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. brickers permalink
    September 10, 2011 14:53

    An interesting business story, thanks. I live in south London, UK where Tiger energy drink has been available for some years (probably for the large Polish population in the area). I drink it from time to time as a better value alternative to Red Bull. I recently noticed that the branding has changed from ‘Tiger’ to ‘Black Tiger’ (note, the Tiger name is still on the can). The can is the same as the one pictured above (branded ‘Black’). I wonder if the Foodcare are still allowed to market the product with the Tiger name outside of Poland, or have there been further developments to the story (have Foodcare reclaimed the Tiger brand)?

  2. September 10, 2011 22:37

    Well, the legal battle is still going on, but I think FoodCare lost the right to use the name Tiger and nothing will change it. I’m not sure how the situation looks regarding the rights to Tiger brand outside Poland – perhaps Maspex is too focused on relaunching Tiger in Poland and hasn’t bothered with it yet.


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