Engaging your Audience through Experiential Marketing – Part 2 – Red Bull

June 27, 2013

Event Recap: Lessons in Experiential Marketing

Lessons from the Mighty Mighty Red Bull

It’s about the Brand Experience

By Bruce Nickson

 Everyone knows “Red Bull Gives You Wings”. Well Kenny MacIntyre, Project Manager at Red Bull was here not to talk about that. He was here to talk about simplicity. It being Red Bull, Kenny’s presentation was video heavy, verbally minimalist and a very funny account of his experiences as manager of some very big (and some smaller) events. What follows is a very impressionist account of a very impressionist presentation.

 The confusion associated with the term “experiential” became apparent when Kenny mumbled something about “’lifestyle marketing’ – that’s what we call it”. His emphasis was on the psychology of the consumer – oops “people”. More about that later.

 To start at the end of Kenny’s talk, a simple idea is defined as jumping from space.


Think Big: how did Red Bull start? Like this: “There is no market for Red Bull, but we’ll create one”. There’s some serious cajones here. Though Kenny didn’t put it these terms, start your campaign with courage.

 Have an idea? OK, cool. “I’m going to create a sport that combines hockey, luge, downhill skiing, blah blah and I want it be downtown”. Remember that ideas have a net present value of nothing. So, it’s time to create a sport.


Start Small, Keep Ideas Simple: Starbucks – enough said

Fail Quickly: If the idea is not bigger than the room, abandon quickly. If it doesn’t scale, punt it.

Don’t be afraid to Fail: Red Bull takes its inspiration from the athletes featured in their films. When you’re falling from 100,000 feet, “you’re committed”. Otherwise, what are you doing? Otherwise it’s just another event and it’s kind of boring. But you have to understand the consequences.

bike jump

 Don’t Sponsor: Create your own content. Don’t just hang your logo and walk away, create the whole deal. People want to engage and participate in your brand. Don’t ask them to participate, just do the event. You’re not asking people to do it; you’re just creating a situation where they just gravitate toward it.

Kenny said: “that’s what marketing is, getting in deep with the consumer”. And, by the way “they” are not “consumers”, they’re people, just people; “talk to them like people”.


 Personally, I was most impressed by the fact that we were listening to a big project management professional. He asked us to think about the breakdown structure for the space jump, in which everything we see, the capsule, cameras etc were created specifically for the event. Nothing was off-the-shelf. “Think about creating that Gantt chart”.

People have asked about the ROI for the Space Jump. Kenny’s response was: “what was Columbus’ ROI for discovering America”?


 “K, you’re busy. You don’t have to tell people how busy you are. Shut up”.

 In dealing with people, don’t worry about what rung of the ladder you’re on, what position you hold and what it says on your business card. “It’s not about the ladder, it’s about the web”. The more people in your web the better your experiential marketing will be. Be hyper-connected or things will blow by you. But don’t forget to disconnect.

Bruce Nickson is employed in the sales and marketing of engineering services and is embarking on (yet another) startup in the technology space.