Chris Reed
Aug 27, 2013

Red Bull Singapore's cringing marketing clashes with its global brand values

When I first saw Red Bull’s appalling Real SG Heroes campaign I thought it was a clever tongue in cheek joke…until I realised that they were being serious. Red Bull owners would surely have a heart attack if they saw it…..

Red Bull Singapore's cringing marketing clashes with its global brand values

The concept seems to have come from the launch of the new Red Bull Less Sugar product although the connection bemuses me as there actually appears to be zero connection between the two. Worse still, Red Bull don’t even appear to be making any connection, almost as if the two pieces of activity are working alone….but together!

Red Bull launched their website and asked Singaporeans to submit local heroes. To give you an idea of what they were probably hoping for see the advert to the left.  Really, corporate admins and students?

This may be who they’re targeting but it’s not who is are featured in all their marketing. Have they realised that their entire marketing strategy is based on aspirational extreme sports brands and personalities?

So it should come as no surprise that some of the submissions include: 1) someone walkingan old lady to the MRT, 2) someone giving up their seat for a school kid on the mrt, 3) someone playing the Ukulele on the MRT (bloody annoying not worthy of being a hero), 4) giving sweets to workmen….you see this is hardly lifesaving/hero stuff. This is more of what you expect from the often derided Kindness Movement in Singapore not energy power brand Red Bull!

The biggest problem of this whole promotion is that there is no connection whatsoever to the Red Bull brand.  All F1 and cliff diving, falling out of space ships and riding waves…extreme sports all…where is the connection then with Real SG Heroes? This is a promotion more worthy of a local newspaper not one of the most shrewd marketing brands in the world.

The photos of a Red Bull guy going around in spandex mimicking superheroes is just corny and laughable and not at all in keeping with the cool/witty Red Bull brand.  Social media reaction has been damning, absolutely no reaction at all! So the campaign, despite being marketed heavily has had no engagement, a few hundred people watched some of the videos and limited engagement on facebook. They were probably too shocked to comment…..thought it was a copycat brand aimed at seniors....

Red Bull Singapore only have 13,000 followers on their facebook account and those that are following don’t appear to care about this campaign. A few have commented on where’s the “Gives you Wings” strapline but that’s about as far as the social engagement has gone.

Even the prizes are poor and show little imagination and all are very unlike Red Bull. No extreme sports and just some travel vouchers, not very in keeping with the brand and it confirms the view that it feels like a local newspaper promotion not a global super brand promotion.

Red Bull Singapore also appear to have forgotten the global strapline. “Gives You Wings” is nowhere to be seen in any of the marketing…..have Singapore changed this and not told the global HQ? Is this just for Singapore? Is this a renegade promotion?

This would be a great promotion, if it was promoted in the right tone and voice by a completelydifferent brand and not a Red Bull one. A local community brand, safe and secure and caring for the community. 

Most of the people being helped are disadvantaged and elderly. Nothing wrong with that and great for someone like DBS or MediaCorp, SPH or NTUC Fair Price to run this kind of community based promotion where it would be in keeping with their brands but Red Bull? C’mon!

The more concerning point here from Red Bull’s perspective is that all of this activity clashes jarringly with the build up to what should be the most aggressive period of activity for Red Bull in Singapore; the Singapore F1 Grand Prix.

So while Red Bull themselves are targeting seniors with worthy community orientated activities all the retailers here are giving away tickets and VIP experience to the fast and furious F1 where they have the two leading drivers and the current F1 Champion! Talk about a clash of brand values and activity. Have Singapore Red Bull gone rogue and not in a daring, adventurous and Red Bull like way?!


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