Over three billion cans of Red Bull are sold each year. They engineered this success by supporting radical athletes, orchestrating the kinds of unconventional events where they compete, and inviting fans to witness it as a Red Bull-branded spectacle. If there is one weakness to this kind of event-based marketing, it would be limited reach.
Cross Media Strategy
In 2002, Odopod and Science + Fiction were invited to present our thoughts on the changing media landscape to the executives at Red Bull. Specifically, Red Bull was interested in how the authenticity and energy of their marketing events could be amplified through new channels.
We proposed a series of ground-breaking cross-media productions. Each was conceived as a single large-scale live action production pre-purposed into a set of uniquely tailored executions for the web, DVD and television.
The Copilot Series
The first of these productions, the Red Bull Copilot Series, was imagined as a way to get fans closer to the action than they could get at a live event. That meant new viewpoints, greater access to athletes, and behind-the-scenes action.
The end product would be an innovative online video experience, a web-connected DVD used for promotional purposes at events, and a 30-minute show for television.
Supermoto with Jeremy McGrath
The first episode in the Copilot series takes us to the Laguna Seca’s Supermoto Track with motorcycle-racing legend Jeremy McGrath. Newly reintroduced to the U.S., Supermoto is a hybrid racing format that combines dirt and pavement tracks into a compact, highly technical racecourse.
The site includes four chapters: The Track, The Bike, The Rider and The Race. The first three chapters feature video interviews with Jeremy and his mechanic that offer expert insights into the subtleties of the sport.
The action peaks with The Race, a highly-interactive experience that uses new multimedia technologies to put the user in control of these five video streams as well as soundtracks and data streams for RPM, speed and biometrics. Video angles include bike-mounts, aerial flyovers, handheld shots and racer POVs.
A promotional DVD designed to drive visitors to the website and a kiosk version of the site were created for distribution at all Red Bull motorsports events.
This first chapter of Copilot was an unqualified success. Analytics demonstrated that we reached fans worldwide with average viewing times of greater than 9 minutes.
Air Race with Kirby Chambliss
The second episode in the series takes Copilot experience to a new level. Users are dropped into the cockpit with two-time National Champion Aerobatic Pilot Kirby Chambliss as he races through a low-altitude obstacle course.
The chapter structure remains the same, with the first three chapters featuring interviews with Kirby and the airplane designer. And Copilot’s signature multi-camera interface once again puts the user in control of seven camera angles as well as data streams for air speed, pitch, g-forces and GPS position. Video angles include cockpit, wing-mounted, stabilizer-mounted, chase plane and helicopter.
Air Race improved on the success of Supermoto. Air Race events are held in only a few cities globally, making the comparable reach and strong ‘time-spent’ numbers even more valuable.
Downhill with Daron Rahlves
The third and final Copilot episode is the story of man vs. mountain, featuring world champion Downhill skier Daron Rahlves in action at Mammoth Mountain, California.
Users try to hold it together as they hurtle toward the finish line at speeds of over 75 miles/hour. The same chapter structure and race interface educates visitors about all aspects of downhill skiing before putting them in control of multiple camera angles, audio tracks and data feeds.
A New Model
This new model for cross-media productions became a Red Bull standard. It was among the first in a wave of programming that would redefine how we interact with our what we watch. Enterainment was moved from a passive, lean-back-in-your-couch experience to one where the audience is an active participant, leaning forward, fully engaged.