When I think of Red Bull and content marketing I’m always reminded of an Onion article called ‘Nike to Cease Manufacturing Products’.
In the (entirely fictional) article the sportswear company supposedly announced it was doing away with all the tedious product research and development to focus solely on its advertising efforts.
The point is that Red Bull is so synonymous with content marketing and enjoys such high brand awareness that it’s easy to forget that it produces and sells fizzy energy drinks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook famously said all the company’s products could fit on one table. Red Bull could fit all its products on a modest drinks tray.
Red Bull’s marketing really has nothing to do with drinks but everything to do with building a strong association with excitement and adventure. It goes beyond content into sports and headline-making stunts from space. But it’s the content element that Red Bull has managed to exploit and master so successfully.
We recently featured some of the thoughts of the company’s founder and CEO Dietrich Mateschitz in our content marketing quotation series.
Mateschitz said: “Brands need to take the phrase ‘acting like a publisher’ literally.”
There’s no doubt the company followed this axiom. In fact, Red Bull set up an entire content company, Red Bull Media House, to manage the prodigious output of content ranging from its brand publication, the Red Bulletin, to its vast library of extreme sports and stunts videos.
Often we hear agencies worry that the product isn’t front and centre. Red Bull is proof that the product doesn’t need to be in the frame at all.
But unlike The Onion’s fictional Nike marketing executives focusing on advertising for advertising’s sake, the Red Bull team is focused on executing a winning strategy of creating and publishing content to build the brand awareness that will help sell billions of cans of fizzy energy drinks.