One of the most eye-opening jobs I’ve ever had was marketing at Red Bull. This magical energy drink had just recently come to the United States, and (after interviews and auditions) I got offered a position on the Bay Area Mobile Energy Team (MET), along with a tight-knit group of artists, musicians, students, DJs, inflatable sculpture designers, sand mandala artists, fire dancers, and other extroverted weirdos like me.
Our simple mission, which we chose to accept, was to find PINOES – People In Need Of Energy. Armed with Red Bull cars (with massive cans on the back), unlimited cold Red Bull, a gas card, skateboards, roller blades, and bus passes, Northern California was our oyster. We gave out Red Bull to basketball players after games, sushi chefs, long-haul truckers, hikers in the forest, craft beer brewers, stressed students studying, even strippers taking breaks between songs.
And we threw events! Imagine people jumping out of airplanes, racing down mountains in soap boxes, flying home-built gliders into the bay, famous DJs, art exhibitions in which all the sculptures are made from Red Bull cans. As my first foray into marketing, I immediately understood why “the Bull” spends BILLIONS of dollars a year on experiences.
See a billboard: ZERO engagement
Click on a banner ad: ZERO engagement
Half-page magazine ad: ZERO engagemen
Spend an entire summer day laughing with your family, while watching a team of unicorns fly a spaceship off a pier into San Francisco Bay: LOVE
We knew we were on to something. But one thought kept bothering me – how did we know whether this was working? How could we quantify it? I was a data guy used to reading cognitive neurology studies, and I wanted to understand the stats behind these crazy events. Did these unsuspecting PINOES suddenly become Red Bull addicts? There had to be more than just blind faith.
This chasm, between the creativity and rush of experiences and data-focused understanding, is the inspiration behind the AnyRoad ERM. I believe that Red Bull has one of the strongest marketing engines in the world, and I believe that we can use data to prove that experiences build love. We’re doing this because if we can better understand exactly how the best experiences in the world affect emotions and behavior, we will better understand ourselves.Notes:
- Please drink Red Bull in moderation. I once had 13 in one day. That was too much.
- Dietrich Mateschitz, the founder of Red Bull, had many of these philosophies from day one. He considered print advertising too static for an energy-based brand.
- I once met a guy named Fred in Daly City, CA who drank 20 Red Bulls per day. No exaggeration. His friends called him Fred Bull.