An insightful article into digital marketing, Red Bull are clever!
Don't be the commercial be the show
One of the core principles of effective content marketing is to not directly
sell your product. Instead, spend time creating and distributing high quality
entertainment and value to audiences.
Now, that’s obviously easier said than done. Today’s critical audiences, for
the most part, simply don’t have the patience for commercials, ads or sales
pitches. They’ve become incredibly savvy at detecting signs of advertising
and often tune out the minute they suspect they’re being sold to. To get attention
in this type of atmosphere, brands need to rethink advertising: Instead of being
the commercial, they need to be the show.
Red Bull is recognized as a leader and champion in this approach. Back in 2012,
for instance, viewers who watched enthralled as Felix Baumgartner made a supersonic
skydive from space were also
being ‘sold’ a canned energy drink. By spending lots
of time and lots of money producing must-watch, exhilarating content for its fans,
Red Bull has established itself as the main event (not the guys selling peanuts on
the sidelines). By doing so the company has also firmly stamped its brand into
At the heart of effective content marketing is risk and originality. To provide
real value and entertainment to audiences and stand out from the crowd companies
today must be different and stay on top of emerging (especially digital) trends.
A great example of this is Blendtec, a Utah-based company with 350 employees,
which since 1975 has been making and selling kitchen blenders. Blendtec's modest
business was going smoothly (pun intended) until the mid 2000s, when it decided
to shake things up (pun intended, again) in the marketing department. To take
advantage of the emerging trend of online video sharing and the popularity of
YouTube, Blendtec’s founder Tom Dickson began to star in a series of YouTube
videos titled Will it Blend.
For each ‘episode’ of the series, the affable
Dickson—donning a white lab coat—puts an unexpected item inside one of the
company’s high-powered blenders and turns it on after posing to viewers the
question: will it blend? iPhones, a toilet plunger, marbles and a can of
chicken soup are just a few of the many household objects that have faced
the wrath of a Blendtec’s sharp blades over the years.
The risky approach paid off big time. Soon after launching its first episode
of “Will it Blend” on YouTube, Blendtec sales increased by a stunning 500 percent.
Meanwhile, “Will it Blend” now boasts a loyal following of 700,000 YouTube
subscribers and has accumulated over 290 million views of its videos. By paying
attention to emerging trends and taking risks, Blendtec really nailed content marketing.
Give stories with meaning and heart
Did you know that the animated short, “Scarecrow,” was produced by a major
fast-food chain. Not only is the three-minute video visually captivating, but
the way it tells its story—on the perils of modern day industrial farming—is
really important and touching. It was immediately shared via social media.
This is an example of content marketing at its best. With “Scarecrow” and other
popular videos in its “Farmed and Dangerous” series, Chipotle has found a way
to connect with people in a deep and meaningful way and thereby reinforce its
brand as a more sustainable alternative to other fast-food companies. Need proof
of its effectiveness? The “Scarecrow” video alone has been been viewed nearly 13
million times on YouTube and the related app has clocked more than 400,000 downloads.