Red Bull: Marketing Powerhouse

Opinion Leader

(Giphy, 2018)

Red Bull has created a unique position of being at the top of the world of extreme sports, they have made themselves ‘the ones to whom others turn for advice and information’ (AMA, 2017).  They now informally influence the attitudes or behaviour of millions through the sponsoring, hosting and creating sporting events and athletes (Schiffman, O’Cass, Paladino & Carlson, 2014)

In the case of Cliff Diving, they are organisers of the worldwide recognised cliff diving world series, they are literally the leading opinion of the top competition in the sport (Red Bull Cliff Diving, 2018).

As well as events, Red Bull has also become the opinion leader in the world of extreme sports and regular sports through sponsoring top athletes in many different disciplines. Now with dozens of top sponsored athletes, the flow on effect is that it accesses the followers of everyone one of these athletes who, in turn, view Red Bull as a brand worthy of following (Red Bull, 2018).

Experiential Consumption

Experiential consumption can be defined as ‘the experiences consumers have while using, consuming, and possessing market offerings’ (Lofman, 1991). Red Bull’s predominant way of creating positive experiences associated with their name is sporting events.

Red Bull has created an event named after the German word for ‘flying day’ which has since spread across the globe (Red Bull, 2018). A seemingly novel concept creates a party-like atmosphere and ultimately a positive opinion towards Red Bull who’s logo cannot be missed by anyone at the event.

(Giphy, 2018)

Red Bull have also rejuvenated sports, including the oldest extreme sport in the world, cliff diving (Red Bull Cliff Diving, 2018). The world series travels to picturesque locations and draws in crowds that enjoy a day in the sun watching death-defying jumps (Red Bull Cliff Diving, 2018).

Red Bull has not stopped with just a few events to exploit the benefits of experiential consumption, they have over 60 sponsored sports all of which have multiple events across the globe each year (Red Bull, 2018). Everyone of one these events aim to create an enjoyable experience for the crowd.

Motorcycle USA, 2008

Combined, these events have the potential to impact millions of consumers yearly and lead to their association of the good experience with the Red Bull brand (Red Bull, 2018).

Brand Personality & Image  

The brand personality refers to ‘the psychological nature of a particular brand as intended by its sellers’, this is how Red Bull wants to appear in the mind of their market (AMA, 2017). The image refers to ‘the perception of a brand in the minds of people’ (AMA, 2017). ‘Red Bull’s dedication to its brand image is that its own website is dominated by the sports and events it runs, and information about its own products takes on an almost secondary role.’ (Marketline, 2012, p. 2)

(Ascent Internet Marketing, 2013)

The brand has taken full advantage of social media when creating a brand personality that embodies their extreme sports and trending that suits a modern, predominately-younger consumer (Sanchis-Roca, Canós-Cerdá & Maestro-Cano, 2016).

Red Bull has enhanced their brand personality through the sponsoring of top athletes (Red Bull, 2018). Through association, the face and actions of athletes such as Mick Fanning and Craig Lowndes wearing the Red Bull create their ‘intended image is without question’ (Red Bull, 2018. Marketline, 2012, p. 2).

(Giphy, 2018)

Red Bull have a created such a strong brand that in some cases the name has overtaken the product with many people being “’passionate’ about the Red Bull brand.” (Schultz, 2014). This is largely due to their social media following that approaches 50million on Facebook and they have now amassed 2.15billion views on YouTube, all reinforcing the intended view of their brand to consumers (Facebook, 2018. YouTube, 2018).


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Marketing With Experiential Consumption

Experiential consumption can be defined as ‘the experiences consumers have while using, consuming, and possessing market offerings’ (Lofman, 1991).

‘Experiential marketers view consumers as rational and emotional human beings who are concerned with achieving pleasurable experiences’ and when this experience is associated with a brand it creates a positive image of that brand responsible for the experience (Schmitt, 1999).

Schmitt (1999) breaks down the experiences we have into modules labelled as Sense, Feel, Think, Act and Relate, which provides the grounds to analyse how experiential consumption has been used today. It is up to brands to creatively capture these modules when creating an experience that embodies their brand or product because the stronger the experience is, the stronger the positive brand association is that follows.

Red Bull – Stratos

Red Bull launched one of the most extravagant examples of examples of experiential marketing when the launched Felix Baumgartner into space for the record-breaking free-fall on October 14, 2012 (Red Bull Stratos, 2018). This stunt reflects the extreme sports and adrenaline rush that Red Bull has built their following from (Red Bull, 2018).

(Giphy, 2018)

Initially, you may think it would be hard to experience something from the edge of space however, Red Bull with their Social Media prowess ensured this would not be a problem. 80 TV stations in 50 countries along with 280 digital partners that accumulated 52million live views globally allowed Red Bull think and feel the significance of the event as it occurred (Zmuda, 2013) (Schmitt, 1999).

As for the success of Red Bull implementing their experiential campaign, sales increased by 13% from the previous year which can be attributed to allowing the world to experience the extraordinary feats of Baumgartner (Zmuda, 2013).

Virgin Atlantic – Park Bench

(PlusPNG, 2018)

The ingenious method of experiential consumption for Virgin Atlantic came in the form of a park Bench (Gianatasio, 2013). They incorporated all of Schmitt’s (1999) modules for very effective use of the consumer behaviour concept (YouTube, 2013)

For the individual who sat on the bench, they got a first-hand experience of the Virgin Atlantic service but the marketing campaign became much bigger than this, drawing in dozens of passers-by with the use of a flash-mob and actors (YouTube, 2013).

On varying levels, the crowd along with the individual could sense, feel, think, act or relate to this event making it a creative and effective example of experiential consumption, all that reflects the larger than life service that Virgin Atlantic provide.  

Refinery29 – 29Rooms

(Merito Group, 2018)

Refinery 29 is a global media company that now, for 3 consecutive years has created an experience for their audience through their 29Rooms exhibit (Refinery29, 2017) (psfk, 2017). As the name suggests, Refinery29 turned a warehouse into 29 interactive rooms (Refinery29, 2017).

Working off Schmitt’s (1999) framework of modern experiential marketing, Refinery29 capture many of the sensory modules that enhance an experience which makes their 29Rooms a very effective campaign for their consumers (psfk, 2017). This year’s exhibit aimed to speak to their audience of young women, for the 20,000 people that visited the warehouse it created a positive experience which they will now associate with the brand Refinery29.  

This captures the fact that experiential consumption cannot only be used to create a positive association with a brand but more significantly, make a positive impact on individual’s lives through positive experiences (psfk, 2017) (Grundey, 2008).


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