Red Bull’s Air Show

The Red Bull Air Race is an exciting competition in which the world’s most talented pilots are up against each other in a race based on speed, precision and skill.The competition features a dynamic new discipline of flying, called ‘air racing’ where the objective is to navigate a challenging obstacle course in the sky in the fastest possible time. Pilots fly individually against the clock and have to complete tight turns through a slalom course consisting of specially designed 20m high pylons, known as ‘air gates’.
Ed Cotton, of Butler Shine & Stern witnessed the power of Red Bull’s event marketing prowess over the weekend in San Francisco. Here’s some of his report:

The brand’s extreme character was brought to life. Red Bull did a fantastic production job with cameras mounted on all the planes at very interesting angles, interviews with pilots, commentators who knew what they were talking about and giant screens to broadcast all of this content to the masses.
Red Bull is a brand that’s often been criticized by the marketing purists for not getting their advertising right.
Clearly, ads aren’t really part of the mix here for this brand, they have moved beyond that.
Reb Bull knows who they are. They plough money into sponsoring and importantly creating events that match their brand’s DNA, but more than that, they are media content creators and distributors. They even sell DVDs of their events.
Red Bull has circumvented the traditional ad process by creating their own immersive brand experiences, that can be experienced live, but if you can’t be there, they use state of the art film and web production to make sure you can still experience the “extremeness” of the event.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.