You cannot deny it. No one creates better branded content than Red Bull. It’s an ingenious way to sell the product. But by creating the content around extreme sports, the company might just be transforming itself into a media company now that awareness for the sport has increased exponentially. And this is not just content that is limited to a single market. Its content is not only created across markets with the same message and packaging but also with the same flavor that appeals to a global audience. Whether its free riding in Rio to drifting in Abu Dhabi or base jumping from a helicopter to free falling from 24 miles above the earth’s surface, Red bull seems to find its playground anywhere.
I believe that it must have been difficult for Red Bull to make the decision to take on this route of marketing as the sport (if you can call it that) was a very niche one, but I admire the tenacity of the brand to stick with that decision to have the sport being associated with the brand rather than the other way round as is with most associations. A major catalyst for this successful venture was the internet. Had the medium not been present, it would have been extremely difficult for Red Bull to garner the awareness it set out to get for the sport.
Apart from just putting out content for people to be amazed with, I liked the way they get user engagement going. Subtle and easy that increases participation with in turn induces social chatter. So for instance, how do you participate in the Red Bull Stratos spectacle? You simply guess where Felix will land. A simple contest that could win you memorabilia attached to the event. An event so big will obviously invite a flurry of branded merchandise that will sell like hotcakes, all of this moving the brand way ahead of its competition. Come to think of it quickly name me another energy drink... I’m guessing you took some time to get a name or could not come up with a name. That is how strong Red Bull content marketing has become. I cannot wait to see the next big thing they come up with that makes you forget the Red Bull Stratos.
Content marketing is soon becoming the next big thing. But for creating good content one must invest in the same (which most brands believe is a risk not worth taking). The scale of both the feat and the investment on the Red Bull Stratos was huge but the returns even better. The internet was buzzing with Felix Baumgartner and Red Bull Stratos and with over two million witnessing the LIVE event, the brand could not have asked for more.
What Red Bull has done right? I believe they have gone about creating standards to every piece of content that represents them. From the packaging to the sports they focus to the stories they cover, all of this without losing focus on the single minded message they would like to pass on to the viewer. They have invested a lot and have invested right. Let’s hope we get to see more brands use this as a case study to kick start their content marketing strategy.
Carlton D’Silva is the chief creative director at Hungama Digital Media and has spent over 15 years in the digital space. He takes insult when you call the digital medium new media…15 years should be old enough!
Find him on twitter@TheWordOfGawd