RedBull’s #AirDrop was an Online-Offline Stunt, yet Another Success to the Brand’s Marketing Strategy

If you’re a Marketer, traditional or digital, you’ve most definitely drooled over at least one of the many campaigns by Red Bull. Heck, companies like Coca Cola, Red Bull, Chrome, Volkswagen and Oreo are probably dream companies for marketers to work for. These brands define what marketing is capable of and set the standard for their categories.

If you thought delivering cans of Coke using drones was epic, you have no idea what Red Bull has been upto. The Red Bull #Airdrop campaign is one of Red Bull’s most successful guerilla marketing campaigns. It has been run by Red Bull for the last couple of years, across continents and met with a roaring response. This is the first time they’ve used this in India and only in 7 days they’ve managed to create a rage.


Not that Red Bull really needs a specific reason to be crazy (yes, I’m a psycho Red Bull marketing fan), #Airdrop was conceptualized to attract the attention of college students. And what do college kids do when they see something they like? They tweet about it. They post about it on Facebook. They share pictures of it on Instagram, et al. #AirDrop lighted the social networks ablaze with Red Bull related conversations, resulting in high interactivity with the brand and spreading the brands goodwill through their follower’s networks, which is exponentially higher than what the brand could achieve on its own. In essence, this means it would make it impossible even for non-target audiences to ignore what the “cool new thing” is.


After a video of the concept sproutedout on Twitter on the 21st of July, the word spread quite easily and it spread fast! The “leaked video” shows a group of young people planning, packing and sending out what seems to be huge crates full of Red Bull.

Reactions started pouring in from all over the country and Red Bull was more than happy to keep mum in order to further build on their curiosity. They ensured that all Twitter comments about the campaign used the #Airdrop hashtag.



With images of choppers flying around the city with huge crates sprouting next, Twitter exploded with chatter about what it is that they could expect:



The campaign made it look like the crates were dropped out of the sky using choppers and parachutes. Of course students passing by couldn’t help but be drawn to a large crate full of the energy drink (it is fresher’s week in a lot of places).

Soon, the crates made their way into colleges which led to students going absolutely ballistic with praise, happiness and excitement!



Of course, Red Bull knows how to bank on this opportunity. They supported the whole project with a follow up video which mirrored the happiness that 35,000 students across 8 cities experienced on 24th July.



Excellent Conversation Starters

Social Media is no longer just another additional medium for marketers; it is being adopted increasingly as the primary medium and made a part of the larger brand targets and goals. To be successful on Social, all it takes is interesting conversations – either from the brand or about the brand.Picture19

Hence, when Red Bull does an execution as wild as this, it automatically creates an opportunity for people to talk about the product itself. #AirDrop is an exceptional conversation starter which is disguised under a terrific execution of sending a crate full of Red Bulls to colleges.

Letting The Users Do All The Talking

Playing on the consumer psyche the brand approached this campaign though a cognitive angle rather than a rational one. Because it wasn’t an outright attempt to sell by the brand, the students and followers were drawn into the conversations and felt compelled to talk about it with their networks on their own. Red Bull did very little in terms of tweeting or posting about the project.

Picture17Even if, for the sake of argument, Red Bull had not done whatever little it did do to help push along the campaign, the audiences would have conversed about the project regardless. Red Bull embraced this and controlled the conversation from the start.

A Straightforward Execution

On one hand, we’ve seen Red Bull do crazy stunts and campaigns which involved technologies, skills and athletes. This, however, was one of Red Bull’s simpler executions. While we see other brands trying to embrace technology and other heavy weighted words like Augmented Reality, RFID, etc. Red Bull has gone ahead and created a winner without complicated jargonized planning.

Scope For Improvement

Lost Amongst Other Activities

As a brand Red Bull probably has 2-3 campaigns running simultaneously. It is natural to dedicate lesser time on the ones which you are spending lesser on. This seems rather obvious through the way the campaign was handled across the brands social networks. Having being given not more than 3 days from start to finish, the Airdrop campaign was barely given enough time to rise to the occasion. Red Bull currently has bigger fish to fry with Flugtag, Campus Cricket and a whole bunch of other affiliated adventure and sports activities.

The #Airdrop activity was a brilliant opportunity for the brand to push for enormous amounts of UGC which could have led to an even better reach to audiences far and wide. The activity could have been given more importance across networks which would have helped it snowball into something even larger.

Not Enough Video Content

Visuals always do the trick, words cant! Video does the trick, pictures cant! If there is one thing which could have taken the campaign to a whole new level is video. Something to learn from Coke is how they cover every single aspect of the campaign through one single video. From ideation to execution to people’s happiness, all wrapped in one neat package.

The brand could have either created one end to end video (which could also include visuals of the crates actually falling from the skies in parachutes, to make it more believable) or a couple of follow up videos, showcasing the response across cities, it would have led to much better user engagement. Helping others experience the same happiness, excitement and energy as the ones actually having the free drink.

Closing Thoughts

You might remember the two-seater, Red Bull branded cars with a huge can of Red Bull in the rear roaming around the posh student hang outs and colleges. Red Bull has been giving away free cans to students since donkey’s years in order to increase adoption and help develop a taste for it. This campaign is nothing but the same idea wrapped in shinier fancier expense new clothes.

Some key takeaways for all marketers from this campaign are:

  • To always stick to your basics
  • To know what your audiences loved about your brand in the first place, and
  • To continuously up the ante of things which worked for you.