Would Red Bull’s content strategy work for other brands?

This is a post from PRISM’s Social Army – regular briefings on topics aligned to our business or close to our hearts. Today’s entry is from Dan Anslow at PRISM’s London office

Having recently discovered that Red Bull TV is available on any connected device, I’ve been gorging myself on great quality action sport stories.

It’s free, advert-free and if, like me, you’re into your octane, it just might be the best channel on digital air. And it’s all to sell more Red Bull.

But I’m not drinking Red Bull while I’m watching some Cali dude tailwhip his YZ over a mountain of dirt. I’m not even thinking about drinking it. Rather, I’m fantasising about pinning the throttle of a dirt bike with a sky-high rooster tail in my wake.

Does this massively expensive marketing tidal wave to keep Red Bull front and centre of the ‘global fridge of consumer cool’ really work, and, if it does, why don’t other brands do it?

In 2014, Red Bull sold 5.612 billion cans of energy drink and made €5.110 billion in revenue, sharing the profits with its Thai licensee (which makes the product). The company owns F1 cars, puts on amazing events and sponsors high-profile athletes, but it doesn’t make drinks.


Almost every brand out there makes content, but nothing else quite pops like Red Bull’s adrenalin-cool offerings.

But could a major (and already pretty cool) brand like BMW do a Red Bull?

A BMW channel experience that captures the best in art, design and technology, perhaps? There wouldn’t have to be a BMW in every frame, and if the content was good enough, the brand would benefit from its association and sponsorship of the channel. If we began choosing BMW to entertain and educate us for an hour or two every day, would the auto brand need to buy a magazine advert for the new 3 Series ever again?

Stepping away from the traditional way of selling cars with TV and print ads is likely a way too scary prospect for an established automaker, especially one that’s quite happily selling a huge number of cars already. But, if they went for it full throttle and pulled it off, wouldn’t all those conquest Audi and Mercedes sales pay for it?

It’s unlikely a decision any BMW boss would relish taking, while with nothing to lose and everything to gain as it went from zero to sugary hero, Red Bull was in a unique position to create its own marketing space. Now all it has to do is fill that space with great Red Bull stories.

Unique Red Bull might be, but I think any big brand with the corresponding kahooners could take inspiration from Red Bull’s success and create its own positive PR through killer content.

I might not drink Red Bull while watching the Air Race, but when the blue moon shines on that time that I need a kick-start, only the charging Bull will do.

Dan Anslow 

November 6, 2017