Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Load of Bull

This may seem a little bit obvious, but Red Bull spend a lot of money on motorsport advertising, sponsorship and promotion.

It hit me this weekend, as everywhere I looked I saw the iconic logo and typeface, whether it was at Sears Point for the AMA Superbike round to reading Racer magazine to watching the WRC on television. So here's my Red Bull sighting list:

  • Nicky Hayden's helmet in the French round of MotoGP
  • The Red Bull trials demo behind the grandstand at Sears Point
  • The crazy huge Red Bull structure in the paddock of Sears Point which was there supporting....
  • ... the Red Bull Rookies Cup
  • The Citroen WRC cars which were competing on Rally Italia Sardinia, which had a number of stages that featured a...
  • ... Red Bull inflatable banner that went over the stage
  • Red Bull-specific vending stations at Sears Point
  • Saturday morning I happened to catch the bizarre NASCAR pitcrew challenge, won by the #83 team, sponsored by.... you guessed it.
  • Eric Bostrom's helmet in AMA Superbike
  • I checked the results of the Oregon Trail Rally to find Travis Pastrana had won in his Red Bull-sponsored Subaru
  • An article on the early arrival of F1's silly season featured a picture of Mark Webber, in his Red Bull-emblazoned racing suit
It's remarkable just how prevalent the Austrian energy drink is in motorsport. Any large-scale investment in the sport has to be considered a good thing, and Red Bull have contributed a huge amount. They've also opened the door to both the creation and promotion of other energy drinks which have chosen to use motorsport as a major marketing channel. Monster, Relentless, and Amp were all evident in motorsport activity over the weekend.

The only concern I have in regards to Red Bull is the massive impact it would have if it were to ever shift its focus elsewhere. I work for a non-profit organization and in this industry it's considered a very bad idea to take too much money from any one source, because the absence of that source would cripple the organization. Something to consider for the US MotoGP events, VW's Dakar outfit, KTM's racing teams, Andreas Aigner's rally team, two teams in F1, the NASCAR Red Bull team.... the list goes on....

On a related note: Red Bull is now legal in France (albeit due to a reformulation of its recipe).


Jimmy said...

Sponsors come and go in motorsport. Taking all the money they can get from one source is how they do it. Sure, it's dodgy business sense, but the next month is their idea of the dim and distant future.

Last century motorsport was in a thrall to massive tobacco companies, now it's a massive sugary caffeinated water company. Plus ca change, eh?

Rob said...

To add to your list:
- Dani Pedrosa's ever-present drink bottle on the podium (almost as annoying as the lollipop kid);
- The Air Race (it's a type of motorsport, right?);
- that daft event where people build home-made flying devices and chuck themselves into a lake in London.

I'm with Jimmy. Take their money, but always be hunting for more elsewhere. MotoGP, for one, desperately needs it.

ChuckS said...

They're even in drifting:


Nicebloke said...

It goes without saying that RB sponsors a whole bunch of other stuff too that I didn't make mention of, but I guess the point I was making was that I was struck by how many times in one weekend I personally came into contact with the Red Bull brand in motorsport in one weekend.

I believe there's a term in marketing for this, not sure what it is, but it basically measures the effectiveness of a campaign based on how many times the brand is witnessed. RB's numbers must be amazing...

Pee Wee said...

What I can't believe......

A couple of years ago at the World Trials GP in Tennessee we put on the Vintage Trials Bike Show. We got hooked up with the Red Bull guys and they supplied us with their product all week-end.

What I can't believe is that anyone at all even drinks the stuff..... el yuck-o. But, drink it they do. Tastes like muddy water to me, with a bad after-taste.

I am happy for their sponsorship dollars though, because of the political incorrectness of the tobacco and beer/hard alcohol sponsorships.