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Red Bull’s Event Coverage Is an Essential Lesson for Marketers

Red Bull's Event Coverage Is an Essential Lesson for Marketers

Red Bull is not a drink; Red Bull is a lifestyle. “Red Bull gives you wings,” and apparently, it also gives you a tendency to enjoy skydiving, BMX, snowboarding, and cliff jumping.

First of all, I don’t consume this B12-infused, carbonated energy drink. I would rather yawn my way into my late 80’s than live fast and die hyper-caffeinated. That doesn’t stop me from admiring all my fellow Red Bull enthusiasts that meet many more generational expectations than me.

What do I mean? While I’m staring at my laptop screen in Panera Bread, these 20-somethings are probably carelessly dangling their tanned legs off some hundred-foot cliff halfway across the globe.

A post shared by Gary Hunt (@garydiver) on

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Sigh. They are going to kick me out of their millennial squad.

As much as I want to resent Red Bull, I begrudgingly like the brand’s social media presence much more than I like the taste or side effects of their beverage, particularly the brand’s cliff diving account.

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Red Bull hosts a variety of events for extreme athletes across the world, including skydivers, skiers, snowboarders, cyclists, and climbers. However, unique to the brand are its cliff diving competitions. The event’s Instagram account, which boasts over 100k followers, is dedicated to reposted content from Red Bull athletes and original coverage of competitions. Each post receives thousands of views and likes.

When analyzing the success of Red Bull’s cliff jumping campaign, one can’t ignore the virality of the athlete’s posts on their own professional accounts. Just one video from Red Bull sponsored athlete Rhiannan Iffland has received over 95 thousand views (below).

While I could wrap up this blog with few hundred gushing words about Red Bull’s excellent utilization of influencer and advocate networks, instead, I would like to focus on their excellent branding and coverage of events.

How Red Bull’s Marketing Makes the Most of Live Events

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Just look at the excellently branded merchandise! Anyone with eyes can see who is sponsoring this incredible athlete. That said, branding of Red Bull content does not begin or end with spiffy outfits. Check out all the branded content in this video, both digital and physical:

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Let’s count the branding elements together, shall we? Be sure to tell me if I’ve missed something:

  1. Diving platform, both top and side
  2. Diver’s swimsuit
  3. Safety buoy
  4. Convenient product placement
  5. Signage on rock face
  6. Hats—always hats
  7. Winners’ platforms
  8. Digital outro

Does every frame have a branded element, or is it just me? I can guarantee no one will be elbowing her friend, asking what awesome brand would sponsor such an insane event.

When the majority of brand awareness is built from the coverage of sponsored events, these plentiful brand elements are especially important. The coverage itself is a thing of beauty. Each video that has been mixed down for Instagram contains many perspectives, meaning the sheer volume of camera equipment they have available at events is impressive. Additionally, videos are of the highest quality, utilizing slow motion effectively but not excessively.


The higher the quality of your event coverage, the longer the lifetime of your campaign.
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What Marketers Can Learn from Red Bull’s Social Media Savvy

If nothing else, Red Bull proves to marketers everywhere that events continue to convert. In other words, digital marketers everywhere might stop heckling their PR peeps. Turns out, IRL (in real life) events are not dead.

When large events are sponsored by brands (i.e. expensive events), branding elements are of utmost importance. Events are created to increase brand awareness—to further a brand’s story. For attendees to make the connection, branding must be prominent.

Finally, give your events legs by providing adequate coverage. This often means live coverage during the event (tweeting, video, etc.) as well as photography and videography to utilize once the event has concluded. Never forget: The higher the quality of your coverage, the longer the lifetime of your campaign.

What Your Grandma Knows About Good Customer Service

What Your Grandma Knows About Good Customer Service

I am an unbiased professional (wink), meaning I can’t tell you how unhappy I am that Walmart acquired ModCloth back in March. Therefore, I won’t tell you. You’ll have to come to your own conclusions.

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(My outfit, brought to you by ModCloth, pre-acquisition.)

Apparently, I’m not alone in my unconfirmed sentiments. When the acquisition was announced, first through Jezebel, then through ModCloth’s own social media, an overwhelmingly negative response resulted. Check out the comments on ModCloth’s Instagram announcement post:

ModCloth Walmart acquisition announcement response

One might guess that the earth shook under ModCloth’s founder from the sheer volume of negative DMs falling into her various inboxes. Unfortunately, Koger didn’t handle all the negative attention well. She replied angrily and defensively to disgruntled fans (as seen in a post to Koger’s public Instagram profile).

ModCloth founder response

Not great, right?

That said, we are all human; we make mistakes. I’ve come to understand that, when avoiding customer service blunders as marketers, many of our grandmothers’ favorite idioms apply. The purpose of this post is, therefore, to explore two very significant gems:

  1. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  2. Show me your friends, and I’ll show you who you are.

When You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say

Say you receive an extremely negative review (been there). Yes, customers expect a response in less than an hour. However, if your response carries a whiff of bitterness, take a deep breath and step away from your technology. In fact, take a walk. Take all the time you need to respond with heart.

In these hateful cases, brands or public figures (or, frankly, any other sentient being) should dig deep to respond as graciously as possible. If someone hurts your feelings or insults your character, never respond in hate or anger. Instead, confide.

If I were Susan Koger, I would respond to the angry Facebook former-customer in this way:

Thank you, [name], for reaching out to me. I hear you. Thank you for speaking of your disappointment, for in truth, you are not alone.

I am undeniably grateful for your loyalty to ModCloth over the years. While I have made no money in this sale, I am grateful that, through this necessary acquisition, our staff can remain employed and ModCloth, my brainchild, can remain in the world.

Moving forward, we will stay diligent in upholding our values and integrity. In my perfect world, you will join me on this journey. I will rely on you and others to keep us on our toes in staying true to our brand, customers, and employees.

Thank you, again, [name]. I am feeling your disappointment as well, but have hope that the future of ModCloth will be bright. 

Additionally, if I were Koger, I would not belittle my customers by posting their legitimate concerns on my public social media accounts. Even though Koger was justified in feeling hurt (I would feel hurt, too), I believe she has the responsibility to act in kindness.


If a customer hurts your feelings, never respond in hate or anger. Instead, confide.
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Show Me Your Friends, and I’ll Show You Who You Are

ModCloth now sounds like every teenager who’s ever tried to convince their mother they don’t smoke pot, even though their friends are the notorious neighborhood stoners.

In joining forces with Walmart, ModCloth should have expected significant backlash. Walmart, after all, has faced a battery of negative press surrounding the treatment of employees, among other criticisms. I am surprised that ModCloth hadn’t prepared excessive resources to communicate, again and again, who they have been as a brand, who they will continue to be, and the promises they mean to keep, to customers and employees.

To give ModCloth co-founder Susan Koger some credit, a few priceless nuggets of realness can be found on her blog about the acquisition. However, the blog still comes off as a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. The hostility from fans worldwide could only have been soothed by continuous, generous communication, along with an assertion that ModCloth is not the company they keep (Walmart)—undoubtedly an impossible feat, as this would entail biting the hand that feeds them.

ModCloth will continue to fight an uphill battle. My only wish is that they begin to face the concerns of their fans head on, as magnanimously as possible.

Do you think we should send them a copy of Hug Your Haters?