Red Bull has long been a leader in the experiential marketing space; the brand was built on the back of branded entertainment (which, more often than not, is live entertainment).
The most admirable characteristic of their strategy, to me, is their willingness to test its limits – to defy the expectations placed upon an energy drink company to position themselves as a brand that, well, defies expectation. While action sports and nightlife marketing are part of their core (as is natural for an energy beverage), they activate campaigns as wild and unique as Flugtag (the competition of home crafted flying machines), a Soapbox Derby, and a street ball tournament on Alcatraz.
All very cool, obviously, but such a strategy can get a brand caught in niche circles. So what does Red Bull do when they want to generate a tidal wave of attention? How can they possibly achieve reach focused almost exclusively on experiential marketing tactics?
Apparently by throwing a man out of a spaceship:
Red Bull Stratos had a whopping 8 million live viewers watching online, with 216,000 new Facebook likes and 10,000+ Facebook comments in a span of 40 minutes. Forbes is calling it a one time stunt worth tens of millions of dollars in branded exposure and many outlets are proclaiming it as a game changer in the marketing world.
Yet the core of Stratos’ succes is no different than any other Red Bull campaign: a willingness to do things never done before. When an audience can experience something new, something truly unique, it will not only call their attention, but leave a lasting imprint. In this case, Red Bull did what nobody expected a brand to ever do (or even could do). That strengthened its position in more than just their core; it captured the imagination of a mainstream audience.
…perhaps at the expense of some other organizations: