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Red Bull, Bodyform,Thomas Cook and what brands can learn

There’s been some big, brand related stories in this weeks news, so we thought we’d round them up and share our thoughts. Some winners, some losers but hopefully something to learn from all.

Firstly, Red Bull takes our belief that bravery is an important quality in a successful brand a little too literally. Felix Baumgartner did very nearly a marathon in ten minutes using only gravity to help him, breaking the sound barrier as he plummeted to Earth. If you want to remind yourself of his multi-record breaking jump you can watch it here.

But what can brands learn from what many commentators are calling the marketing stunt of the century?

1) Authenticity. Red Bull don’t sponsor events, they stage their own. Everything from Red Bull Stratos, to flugtag, cliff diving and x-fighters is a Red Bull event. Former toothpaste marketer and Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz once stated that his company doesn’t “bring products to the people, we bring people to the product”. By building close allegiances with adventure and extreme sports events over the years, Red Bull had a legitimate reason to be associated with Felix’s jump.

2) Effective leverage of technology. We’ll never know how much Red Bull spent on putting a man in space and him jumping back to Earth. But we do know that no media agencies made a single penny from it. Red Bull didn’t invest in traditional media at all. They had a microsite www.redbullstratos.com a couple of hashtags and a live stream to YouTube, that broke another record. 8m people watched the jump live via YouTube, the most ever. Analysts believe that Red Bull would have had to spend over $100m to achieve similar traditional media coverage.

The second story to catch our eye surprisingly shares the same principles. Following a tongue in cheek comment from a fan on their Facebook page, Bodyform decided to be brave and develop this witty retort.

Again a solid understanding of the opportunity social media provides to be authentic, engaging and far-reaching without a massive budget.

But of course, there are some brands who don’t quite understand that yet. A cautionary tale from Thomas Cook, who missed a fantastic opportunity for some positive coverage by sticking to rigid and outdated ‘rules’, and ended up being trumped by a competitor.

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