The stunt, which Red Bull had been planning for seven years, was Itself perhaps not so surprising when you consider the company had been pinioning extreme action sports almost its inception. What was ingenious, however, was what it did with the event. The energy drink maker assumed sole command of chronicling Stratus on film and, according to reports, funneled It through some 80 television outlets in five countries along with a live stream on Youth that was 16 times greater than the views for the summer Olympics that took place a few months before Stratus. Red Bull today Is an experiential marketer which happens to make beverages, says Anita Sarnia, Principal Partner, branded entertainment and activation, Maidenhair. Red Bull today is a full-fledged media production company with thousands of hours of footage of extreme sporting events that It owns the copyright to. It also flogs them in bits and pieces off its internet site while giving some off it away for free. “The whole idea for us is to become a media company,” says Roman Haversack, national communications manager for Red Bull In India.
Industry observers say that the global vision is to ultimately make the company’s content sales equal to that of its energy drinks. That vision has come to India and Red Bull is tipping up Its mandate here by bringing action sports to the masses as original event programming while trying to make money off it. Fans of motorists are probably familiar with their last campaign, associated with Formula One racing. In October 2011. Fore the championship race at the Buddha International Circuit In Greater Oneida, the company shipped one of its exhibition cars to Lee, Ladled and had it race around hairpin bends on its way to Guarding La, the second highest motorboat road in Ladled_ This spawned a 40-minute documentary on the effort which was produced and sold to Discovery channel. Capturing India In September last year, the streets of Banana in Iambi were witness to another Red Bull spectacle ?the Soapbox race, an event that takes place In 90 other cities across 40 countries.
The mandate was to create an meaningless build-it-yourself craft that humans would power in a race. 700 entries were received and 50 of them competed on the streets of Mount Mary over five hours In front of a crowd of 12,000 people. The quixotic range of crafts ranged from fend bottles and condoms to toilets and Veda Pass. Red Bull sold two healthful shows for an undisclosed amount to History TV 18. An event that attracted mass appeal as original event programming while trying to make money off it. Top) A Red Bull spectacle that attracted mass appeal in India was the arrival of Chris Prefer, a world champion exponent of free style street motorizing. (Left): The mandate of the Soapbox race was to create an meaningless build-it-yourself craft that humans would power in a race was the arrival of Chris Prefer, a world champion exponent of free style street motorizing, who toured five cities with India and was hosted by Riemannian of Roadies fame. No sporting activity? extreme or otherwise?could possibly complete with rocket in India.
And so, Red Bull launched ‘Campus Cricket’ in 2012, which had eight colleges from eight cities competing in a 20/20 format. A long-term plan has been to establish coaching clinics and overseas placements such as in the English Country season. The format has also been transplanted to 100 campuses across six countries. A few days ago, India beat Pakistan in the 2013 championship game. Robert Hellhole, head of Public Relations firm Delano for India, which has Red Bull’s account for Events and PR, but not for its digital properties, sums up Red Bull’s philosophy.
This is their proposition: ‘Give me an idea, I don’t care where it comes from. We’re channel agnostic. ‘ The approach starts with content, then looks at traditional media, hybrid, social (floggers), owned (faceable) and experiential marketing. ” This leads to why the Stratus project heralds a larger, more disruptive change in our digital era, say experts. Gone are the days of image marketing. Now, consumers?especially youth? are increasingly asking for brands they can relate to without it being shoved down their throats.
Great expectations What makes the company a potent threat is the way the world is going n content consumption, with a lot it transitioning to digital video format over the internet and across technology platforms. The Red Bull Channel on Youth has 2,013,616 subscribers versus (in a random sampling of sites) Pepsin’s (165, 816), Nine’s (71 ,047) and Procter & Gambler’s (9,674). A full-length snowboarding feature film “The Art of Flight,” was the No. 1 movie download on tunes (at $5. 99) during its first week of release in September 2011; ‘The Red Bulletin,’ its monthly magazine, has an international circulation of 2. Million. This success doesn’t necessarily spell out an easy road in India though. The trick for them is to make sure they have a ‘share of throats,” says Maidenhair’s Sarnia, adding that for beverages it’s still all about sales. Moreover, energy drinks are becoming an attractive space and competition is rising especially with the entrance of low cost indigenous brands like Tagging. Then, there’s covering production costs for content, which can become a nightmare if television can’t pay the high tab that goes into generating it. For instance, the cost of Stratus, the 23-mile free-fall Jump, was apparently around $20 million.
For now though, Red Bull is a $7 billion beverage many that is already a major force in the content business, and in the economics of monitoring a new generation who consume much of it. Industry hands say that it through selling content, a monumental feat, if it happens. “Red Bull gives you wings,” is the company’s motto and the brand has certainly sprouted a few pairs of its own to propel it into becoming a global production force. The question is, can they continue to do so amidst the turbulent currents of a quickly changing digital world and regions of the globe that may have different appetites for its content?