Red Bull is a pretty clever company when it comes to promoting itself. Who here has never, ever had a Red Bull product? OK, who here has never been to an event that was at least partly sponsored by Red Bull? How about seen an athlete that is sponsored by them? If you raised your hand for one or all of those questions, you need to get out more. Now, Red Bull is turning its attention to branded video content, which it's, dare I say....feeling bullish about?
Brand marketers can certainly learn a thing or two from Red Bull's approach to branded content. Let the video be what it is: interesting, compelling, and specifically fit to their brand in one way or another.
They've been doing some very interesting stuff in the space. In fact, you might have actually seen some of their videos and not even realized that they were actually done by Red Bull.
Here are a few examples:
Did you see the Red Bull in that one? A logo on a shirt, hat and backpack, oh and a shot of him drinking a can for a split second.
This one is a bit more blatant in that their logos are all over the place, but again, it's not about the product really but about aligning it with athletes and personalities to kick that "me too" need to connect and fit in instinct in humans...their customers.
Here's a brand new one they just posted about an hour ago while I was doing research for this article. Again notice the high quality and visually dynamic content. Sure, he drinks from a can, wears the hat and the logo shows up here and there. But if I had just embedded it somewhere, you might never know that it came from the Red Bull YouTube Channel.
Another thing about what they're doing is pushing out a lot of content. Three or more videos per day from the look of things. In the last week they've pushed 39 videos to their YouTube channel. Here's the most popular of those...which features a somersaulting, barrel rolling helicopter, Tom Cruise and David Coulthard, the F1 driver. How popular? Some 420,000 hits in 6 days. You can see why it's popular just by watching it, there's some awesome stuff in there.
I learned two things watching this one. Tom Cruise is quite talented in several things outside of acting, and I want to go drive an F1 car. I also learned why Red Bull is seeing success in their branded content campaign. The intentional de-emphasis they place on the brand and the emphasis they place on interesting, visually compelling content. This is certainly branded content done right. It's got fast cars, high-flying action and big name personalities...and absolutely, no scantily clad women! Sex, apparently, is not the only thing that sells.
Granted, I still don't want to go drink their product because I think it tastes like terribly syrupy acid but I am probably more inclined to be a fan of their sports teams and perhaps even, wear some of their logo'd gear myself.
If you're considering working in branded content in any way, you should definitely sit down and watch the last couple weeks of their videos to see what it is they are doing that has netted them 3,241,000 channel views, 183,032,000 upload views and 220,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel.
Watching their content and noticing who and what they align the brand with shows you exactly what they've set out to do. They're not extremely visible in the more mainstream sports but have certainly become a dominant factor in the extreme, the innovative and the downright awe-inspiring stuff that people do in competitive fashions. Why? Because they're an energy drink, and you need a lot of energy to pull some of that stuff off...whether or not you drink their product while actually doing it, is moot.
Here's an article that led me to mine over at Brand Channel who went further and spoke with Red Bull about what they're doing. Credit, where credit is due, right? I just want to lift this bit of a quote from them because I think it sums it all up very nicely:
"...Red Bull does the opposite. It thinks about making content that its audience will want to see and figures out how to remove as much branding as possible." -Dietrich Mateschitz