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Red Bull has taken content marketing to new levels, aiming to be the feature story instead of the commercial.

The
company which began giving people wings in 1987 when the first can was sold in Austria, has gone on to become
a leading global brand creating and publishing amazing content. Red Bull has connected with its young audience by
establishing itself as an enabler of thrill, sponsoring over 500 extreme sports, from base jumping, to snow sports,
and even has its own Formula 1 team. Fans are kept up to date with all things extreme through a range of digital
channels which even includes its own online TV channel Red Bull TV.

Case study summary


Red Bull has redefined sports marketing in a major way
Red Bull demonstrates the full potential of a brand as a publisher
Red Bull is an innovator, creating incredible events such as the Red Bull Stratos space jump
Extreme sports
Red Bull is by far the most visible brand in extreme sports, and this association has given it a cool image in the
eyes of young people. The fact that Red Bull has stuck with this niche has given the brand an exciting and
interesting edge which young people tend to gravitate towards.
Red Bull has redefined sports marketing; its no longer about paying huge amounts of money to sponsor an event
or team, its about taking ownership. A great example of taking ownership can be seen when Red Bull entered the
world of Formula 1.
In 2004, Red Bull bought the Jaguar F1 racing team, and since then has completely rebranded the team and gone
on to win three constructors championships. They also own Scuderia Toro Rosso, another F1 team. Red Bulls
decision to invest in F1 is clear as F1 is associated with speed, fearlessness, adventure and style, all things Red Bull
wants customers to see in the brand.
As well as owning teams, Red Bull has created many extreme sporting events, such as the Red Bull Air Race which
is considered to be the most advanced aerial challenge in the world and the fastest and most exhilarating
motorsport. This year 12 pilots are competing over eight races to become the Red Bull Air Race World Champion.
Red Bull has changed sports marketing, owning a team or creating an event as part of a marketing strategy is very
different to other brands which simply pay huge amounts of money to have their logos displayed on cars, jerseys
and merchandise.
As well as creating events and teams, Red Bull does sponsor countless extreme sporting events from ESPNs X
Games to NASCAR, these sponsorships communicate to its customers that Red Bull loves extreme sporting events
as much as they do, giving customers another reason to love the brand.
Red Bull Stratos
The Red Bull Stratos project was a remarkable event, and a huge leap forward in terms of marketing. On the 14th
October 2012, sponsored by Red Bull Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from near space, out of a
capsule 39Km into the stratosphere and flew back to Earth. The jump created new world records and generated
more media attention than any advert could. The buzz that Red Bull was able to create around the event was

incredible, the Red Bull Stratos Space Jump live YouTube stream was watched by 8 million and since then the
highlights video has been viewed over 37 million times on YouTube.
What made the event stand out was that it underlined the brands authentic link to extreme sport and innovation;
Red Bull owned the event and used social media to connect with their target market who love an adrenaline rush.
The Red Bull slogan gives you wings fitted perfectly with Baumgartners jump.
Aside from excellent marketing, the brand not only created and funded an extreme mission to the edge of space it
also created data that could benefit NASA and scientists all over the world.

Follow

That awkward moment when you realize an energy drink has a better space program
than your
nation.
#livejump
#RedBullStratos
Daniel
Reichert
@dgreichert
11:34 PM - 14 Oct 2012

824824 Retweets

193193 likes

Content marketing
Red Bull demonstrates the full potential of a brand creating, publishing and capitalising on almost all multimedia
channels. Focusing on extreme sports and the athletes and the amazing feats they are engaging in, Red Bull
delivers content with stunning visuals promoting the activities and athletes directly and the brand indirectly.
The marketing is about telling a story of personal achievement and raising the bar further than you thought you
could. Such ideals are true to extreme sports and fearless athletes. Customers engaged in the content feels
inspired to push themselves and go further. Red Bull isnt selling its customers an energy drink, its selling what
happens when you drink it and in order to do this they have created a publishing empire.
Marketing results
Red Bull took advantage of the lack of media attention to extreme sports and has redefined marketing in sports.
Taking ownership of events and teams, everything Red Bull is doing is creative, energetic and exciting in keeping
with their brand identity.
Red Bull as a publisher has created Red Bull Media House which is focussed on creating and publishing amazing
content. Much of the content is from the owned extreme sports teams and events. Publishing this content has

generated large amounts of earned media; Red Bull has 46 million likes on Facebook and 4 million subscribers to
their YouTube channel.
It is evident that Red Bulls marketing strategy is to: be the feature story instead of the commercial. The value of
this strategy for the brand is that fans associate positive things with the brand and in return engage with the
brand.

Putting Your Brand on the Front Page Lessons


from Red Bull

The recent passing of Thai billionaire and Red Bull cofounder Chaleo Yoovidhya got me thinking about the worlds most recognizable and profitable
energy drink. In 2010, Red Bull posted revenue of $5.1 billion. This considerable sum came
from the consumption of 4 billion cans of the drink that gives you wings.
Red Bulls success paved the way for numerous imitators with energetic names like Monster,
RockStar, Full Throttle and Amp. Not long on nuance, energy drinks dont attract similar
snobbery among drinkers as coffee, tea or wine do. Energy drinks dont sell for their taste (you
might say they sell despite it). Instead, they sell on image.

From working man to Superman with the Red Bull


brand
Written accounts peg Yoovidhya coming from humble beginnings, working hard for most of his
80 to 90 years (theres some variance among his reported birth dates). Yoovidhyas consistent
dedication made up for little-to-no formal education. The New York Times documents him he
starting a small pharmaceutical company in the 1960s. TC Pharmaceuticals later developed
energy tonics aimed at laborers and truckers trying to simply get through long work days.
In the early 1980s, while working in sales for the German household products company Blendax,
Austrian businessman Dietrich Mateschitz discovered the natural Asian tonics available in

Yoovidhyas small pharmacy. While the pair made a mutually beneficial deal to manufacture
Red Bull, Mateschitz is responsible for the extreme success of the Red Bull we know today.

Way Back Home, Red Bull Stratos 2012 and A-1 of


the Miami Herald
Rather than spend its budget on traditional beverage industry media like TV or outdoor
advertising, Red Bull went guerilla to put its brand and cans in the eyes and hands of its most
likely drinkers: 18 to 34 year-old-males. These guerilla marketing tactics went underground,
made the drink just edgy enough to grab the attention of their target user, subtly and flawlessly
executing on Wing 1 of the Dragonfly Effect model.
Whether rolling in a Red Bull car handing out branded freebies at an extreme event, or riding on
a BMX through Scotland, the brand marketing strategy translates to We are with you and one
of you, rather than Buy this because its awesome.
If you are not among the 19 million viewers of Red Bulls Way Back Home video of Scottish
rider Danny MacAskill, watch it now and se if you can spot:

Subtle branding that grabs attention

An everyman theme

Engagement with the audience

High production quality without an overproduced look

True to its laser-like focus on brand recognition, Red Bulls 2011 2012 marketing strategy
states intent to increase awareness among the 35 to 65 crowd, both male and female. Regardless
of whether you fall into its first or second target demographic, Red Bull now has two questions
for you:
1. Ever dreamed you could fly?
2. Ever wanted to be an astronaut?

Whether you answered yes to one or both of these questions, the drink that gives you wings
has an answer for both. Red Bull Stratos 2012 will take skydiver Felix Baumgartner to the edge
of space for a 13,000-mi 120,000 ft jump. And the Red Bull Air Force, which made page A-1 of
the Miami Herald this year for its four-city, simultaneous Leap Year base jumps. Its no
coincidence that in both cases, the athletes making the news are in their 40s.
In addition to engaging emotionally with both its original and second target demographics, Red
Bull subtly invites both to take action and fulfill the biggest dreams theyve ever had. This
strategy employs wings three and four of the Dragonfly Effect model without ever making it
obvious. Instead, the strategy is to make life exciting and fun, no matter what a persons age.

From extreme sports to brand loyalty


To distill the remarkable success of Red Bulls strategy, consider these four concepts:
1. Consumer engagement through sportsmanship, heroicism and ideals
2. Viral videos depicting feats of athleticism and bravery evoking the rush people seek from
drinking the product
3. Brand recognition through logo saturation
4. Attainment of widespread brand recognition and loyalty first among a core demographic, then
carefully building a credible bridge to achieve it in another

For its engaging creativity, and the savvy cultivation of and integration of the Extreme Sports
movement, Red Bull leads the category in brand marketing strategy. And now, if youre more
artist than athlete, simply apply to the new Red Bull Music Academy. Yes, the brand plans to
appeal to every dream.
Consider your marketing strategy: Whos your target consumer, and how much does your brand
appeal to them? Is that consumer as engaged with your product, as he is focused on a favorite
athlete, a favorite Everyman?
If you cant answer these questions, it may be time to get your team of marketing heroes
together and take flight for the outer limits of your collective imaginations. Thats where youll
find the most exciting facets of your product or service, the qualities that can create brand
loyalty and truly engage consumers. Now go for it grab their attention. In a word: jump!
Elements of Red Bull's Marketing Strategy

Red Bull was generally acknowledged by marketing


experts to be a good example of an ordinary
product of uncertain worth that was transformed
into a powerful brand through innovative
marketing.
The emphasis Red Bull placed on marketing was
evident from the fact that the company spent
around 30 percent of its annual turnover on
marketing - much higher than most other beverage
manufacturers who spent approximately 10
percent. Red Bull was positioned as an energy
drink that 'invigorated mind and body' and
'improved endurance levels'.

The company's slogan 'Red Bull gives you wiiings' reinforced this positioning. The beverage was
targeted at people who sought increased endurance, speed, concentration and alertness (Refer Table I
for the 'benefits' of Red Bull as claimed by the company)...

Controversies
Red Bull had been a controversial product right
from the start.
When Mateschitz first planned to launch the
beverage in Europe, he had to wait for three years
to get approval in Austria, his home country.
After that, it took another five years before it could
be sold internationally, and Hungary became Red
Bull's first foreign market in 1992. Red Bull's
launches in new markets were almost always
preceded by controversy, usually centering on the
nature of the ingredients in the drink.
While exotic ingredients were acceptable in many Asian markets where food regulations were not
stringent, in Europe, the beverage faced difficulties in getting approval from the authorities. As of
2006, Red Bull was banned in France and Denmark. In Norway, it was classified as a medicine that
could only be sold in pharmacies.
The most controversial ingredient in Red Bull was taurine. Taurine, an acidic chemical substance, was
an untested food product in many western countries and was thought by some to be harmful. The
controversies were further fuelled by rumors that taurine was actually derived from the bile of bulls...

Threats to Continued Success


Red Bull was a market leader in its category in the
early 2000s, garnering strong sales in its various
markets around the world. Nevertheless, analysts
were skeptical about the company's continued
survival and growth as there were several factors
threatening the brand's long term prospects.
Red Bull's success had spawned a spate of
imitators, all wanting to cash in on the booming
energy drinks market. Some of the knock-offs even
had names that evoked the Red Bull brand -Red
Tiger and American Bull being notable examples.
The US itself saw the launch of brands like Red Devil, NRG, Eclipse, Blue Ox, Niagara, Dynamite, Red
Rooster, Energy Rush, SoBe Adrenaline Rush, Mad Croc, Hansen's Functional, and Jones Whoop Azz,
among others, in the energy drinks market during the early 2000s. Not to be left behind, certain
American celebrities like rap stars Cornell Iral Hayes, Jr. (known as Nelly) and Jonathan Smith (known
as Lil Jon) also came out with their own brands. Nelly launched an energy drink called Pimp Juice, while
Lil Jon launched the Crunk brand.Overall, it was estimated that as of 2005, there were 125 players in
the energy drinks market in the US.
Major beverage companies like Coke, Pepsi and beer major Anheuser-Busch had also come out with
new energy drinks. Coke and Pepsi launched KMX and AMP respectively, while Anheuser-Busch

launched 180, in the early 2000s. Analysts said that competition from big companies might affect Red
Bull, as these companies, with their greater spending power, had the potential to give the brand a run
for its money. "Strategically, Red Bull could be vulnerable to such giants as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which
can't sit back and simply do nothing," said John Hudson, coordinator of the graduate business school at
the University of Palermo. "They could wind up competing in the same segment. It would be hard to
fight that battle."

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