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SBD Global/August 23, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Red Bull Marketing Plan Explored As Company Emphasizes Connection With Extreme Sports

Travis Pastrana was one of the first athletes to sign a deal with Red Bull.
Red Bull's marketing strategy was examined on HBO's "Real Sports" on Tuesday night, with host Bryant Gumbel noting the brand "spends nearly all of its advertising dollars sponsoring daredevil athletes eager to push the bounds of both safety and sanity." Gumbel added, "It's an unconventional strategy, but one that's also been wildly successful." HBO's Jon Frankel said after 20 years, Red Bull is "still trying to keep people interested" by sending "athletes across the globe to defy gravity in the most spectacular ways." Frankel added, "They film every second of it, making sure the Red Bull logo is right in the middle of the action, then spread the footage far and wide." Frankel noted extreme sports athlete and current NASCAR driver Travis Pastrana was "one of the first athletes" to sign up with Red Bull. Pastrana said that "every year, Red Bull goes to every athlete asking, 'How can we help you progress your sport and in doing so, how can you help us take something and make it bigger than it's ever been done? Not just by a little bit, but by a lot.'" Pastrana: "Red Bull's whole branding strategy is, 'Hey, let's do the coolest stuff. Let's have the most fun.'" Frankel noted, "Red Bull's revolution in extreme sports is just a happy by-product of the company's actual goal: Selling cans of energy drink."

WE WANT MORE! WE WANT MORE! Frankel added with "extreme sports now on a mainstream stage, Red Bull is stepping on the gas and pushing out more content than ever." Red Bull North America Managing Dir Werner Brell said, "Red Bull has become a global lifestyle brand." Red Bull was filming a made-for-TV BMX event on a very challenging course, and Frankel noted, "Whether it's a sporting event or one big ad, well, that's in the eye of the beholder." Brell said, "At the end of the day, if it's marketing, if it's advertising, if it's a TV series, the lines are blurred. To the consumer, he just wants to enjoy and be inspired by good content and that's our mantra" ("Real Sports," HBO, 8/20).
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