A wing and a player
Red Bull plumps for extreme sports to emphasize its ‘body and mind’ branding, says Communicate magazine.
February 19, 2010 11:08 by Austyn Allison
Energy drinks brand Red Bull has started to go mainstream. After years of focusing on niche events and competitions, its highest-profile sporting affiliation is now with Formula One.
The Austrian company sponsors two teams, the UK-based Red Bull Racing and Italy’s Scuderia Toro Rosso. And these are no also-rans; Red Bull Racing narrowly missed out on the Constructors’ Championship last year, while one of its drivers, Sebastian Vettel, was a leading contender for the drivers’ title.
However, Red Bull is perhaps better known for its more extreme indulgences; the company is heavily involved with less mainstream sports such as motocross, car drifting, snowboarding, and aerobatic flying. Anything that has a note of excitement, thrill and danger about it seems to get Red Bull’s endorsement.
Red Bull’s tag line, “It gives you wings,” is often qualified by emphasis on the drink’s ability to “vitalize body and mind.” Presumably fear can do that too.
Bassam Saydi, the company’s sports marketing manager for the Middle East and Africa, says the Formula One deals shouldn’t be seen as breaking this mold just because it’s a more mainstream sport.
“Red Bull has been known for its support of extreme sports globally,” he tells Communicate. “I would say that Formula One is also a very challenging sport that requires a lot of energy and concentration from the drivers, and therefore it fits perfectly with the body-and-mind formula.”
As well as owning events such as Red Bull Street Style (where entrants compete by performing football tricks), Reach the Top (cars and quad bikes smash their way up a sand dune) and the Red Bull Air Race (stunt pilots slalom between giant balloons), the brand also sponsors athletes. In this region, they support motocross driver Mohammed Al Balooshi and sailor Adil Khalil, both from the UAE, as well as Abdo Feghali, a rally driver from Lebanon.
“Red Bull’s strategy is to get involved with sports that represent the brand’s personality and get the brand closer to consumers’ hearts,” says Saydi. “However, some decisions were based on the athlete more than the sport. Red Bull involves itself with young athletes and sportsmen and women who have great potential and who Red Bull sees as future leaders in their fields of sports.”