The Marketing Monarchy
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote his famous article “Content is King”, published it on the Microsoft website, and began the double decade long debate that has progressed stirringly through the inception of content marketing as a major advertising medium of today.
Last week, we posted a blog defending content from the growing trend of sardonic bloggers making their marks as professional contrarians with attacks on the form, such as this one, but we decided that, so long as these silly publications keep churning out the cheap buzzword based clickbait, we’ll back our argument up with a real example.
So we chose-
We selected Redbull because they have not only established themselves as one of the finest and most ingenious marketers of our times, but because they have given us the very best examples of content marketing since ’96. In fact, if you ask anyone you know outside of the industry to name a possible example of the technique, they’ll most likely name a Redbull campaign. Now this isn’t going to cover everything in depth, like how Redbull has an entire soccer team. Or a formula one team. Or that they actually started an art fellowship. But they have had some far out ideas about how to market through content. We’re talking very far out. To properly illustrate what we mean, we’d better start…
At what was, quite literally, the edge of space.
In 2012, Felix Baumgartner of Salzburg, Austria achieved the daredevil equivelant to…well… we suppose the point was that there is no equivalent… but in the process of this unparalleled feat, he definitely broke new, high ground for the Redbull Stratos Project. A perfectly simple stunt, which took the physicalized definition of height and pushed its appeal to the absolute limit, marked an inspired step forward in Content Marketing. Leaping from a helium balloon 24 miles above the Earth, Felix became the first person to break the sound barrier without the support of engines, and now holds the record for highest sky-dive in history. But you see, there was no real achievement here for science itself, only an action worthy of attention, and a label people recognized so much that they could continue to recognize it on a spacesuit. If you check out the Wikipedia page, you might just forget that Redbull had no real dog in this fight, save for the emblem on Baumgartner’s pressurized suit. The entire project, however beneficial for mankind some people deem it to have been, was literally just an excuse to jam the Redbull brand into the collective consciousness of the world. And it worked.
But this wasn’t the first time Redbull had dabbled in the art of content marketing. Redbulls’ Flugtag has been a staple of silly event coordination for the sake of energy drink sales for years now. A simple competition of (rarely working) flying contraptions in operation for over a decade, Flugtag combines the appeal of launching grown men off high ledges in bulky nonsense machines with that oh-so recognizable double scarlet bovine insignia. Once again, an entire event is crafted annually with no regard for vocational productivity or a contribution to culture, regardless of how citizens utilize it, for the sole sake of advertising.
If you’re starting to see the pattern here, know it doesn’t end with Flugtag. The list reads of Redbull’s sponsored and marketing content is long and reads thusly:
- RB Leipzig: football club.
- New York Red Bulls: soccer franchise.
- Red Bull Racing: Formula One team, World Constructor’s Championship winner of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
- Red Bull Sailing Team: extreme Sailing Series racing team.
- Scuderia Toro Rosso: a second Formula One team based in Italy.
- Team Red Bull: a NASCAR racing team.
- FC Red Bull Salzburg: an Austrian football club.
- EC Red Bull Salzburg: a member of the Austrian Hockey League.
- EHC Red Bull München: a German hockey team.
- Red Bull Brasil: another football club.
- Red Bull Racing Brasil: a Stock Car Brasil team.
- Red Bull Ghana: a Ghanaian professional football club.
- StarTale: a professional Starcraft 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team.
- Red Bull Battle Grounds: An esports competition
- Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series
- Red Bull Rampage
- Red Bull Road Rage
- Red Bull King of the Rock Tournament
- Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye
- Red Bull Crashed Ice
- Red Bull X-Fighters
- Red Bull X-Alps
- Red Bull Air Race World Championship
- Red Bull Flugtag
- Red Bull Foxhunt
- Red Bull Cape Fear
- Red Bull Paperwings
- Red Bull Training Grounds
- Red Bull Art of Motion
- Red Bull BC One
- Red Bull Cold Rush
- Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
- Indianapolis motorcycle Grand Prix
- Motorcycle Grand Prix of the Americas
- Argentine motorcycle Grand Prix
- Red Bull Storm Chase – A worldwide windsurfing competition in storm conditions
- Red Bull Supernatural – A “backcountry boarding competition designed to challenge, then crown the best all-around snowboarder on the planet.”
- Red Bull Soapbox Race
- Red Bull Unleashed – A surfing event
- Red Bull World Bridge Series
- Red Bull Drift Shifters – Drifting event
- Red Bull Music Academy
And those are just a handful of them.
Now we know what you might be thinking- that this is all well and good but most companies can’t afford any campaign nearly the size and scope of these Redbull exhibitions. But just because you can’t go big, doesn’t mean you can’t go.