Defining taurine and then letting it rip works for this energy drink
We all know that the energy drink Red Bull gives you wings, especially when mixed with vodka. But not everyone knows just how involved Red Bull is in extreme sports, ranging from cliff diving to snowboarding to motocross, as well as the areas of fashion, music, dance and art.
So the crew at interactive services shop The Barbarian Group - likely fueled by copious amounts of the product they were pitching - set out to promote Red Bull's endeavors, embarking on an ambitious overhaul of RedBull.com. Utilizing HTML, they built a video-rich, searchable Web site featuring content from Red Bull properties around the world, designed to appeal to young guys with a thirst for action, adventure and the latest and greatest in pop culture.
But will the site fly with our roundtable, or will it crash and burn?
Read on to see what digital creatives Todd Crisman of Element79 and Organic's Sacha Reeb, along with 22-year-old Corey Lucero, a Maryland freeborder (a relatively new extreme sport that combines elements of skateboarding and snowboarding) who won Standout of the Year at the 2009 Freebord Awards, have to say after drinking in all that RedBull.com has to offer.
What was your first impression upon arriving at RedBull.com?
Crisman: One really cool thing that struck me was the fact that they're involved in about ten times more things than I thought. I knew about Art of Can, I knew about the Red Bull Soapbox Race, and, of course, I knew about Red Bull Flugtag, but I did not realize they were involved in quite as many things, and in quite as many sponsorships.
Lucero: I didn't realize that either. It was kind of a surprise to me to see all of the things they had going on
at once. It shows they are getting out there.
When it comes to content on this site, video rules. Are the videos compelling?
Reeb: They seem to respect what each sport is about and the kind of adrenaline it creates and demands. The one on, for instance, the cliff diving is pretty intense. I would tend to think that a Web site should be a little more interactive, but this passive experience of showing videos is great when you have great videos to show, and some of this stuff is really spectacular.
enjoyed the videos I saw. I loved the fact that, within just a few minutes, I was genuinely engaged with the "Climb Attack" video of the guy [famed stunt driver and drift champion Rhys
Miller] cruising up Pikes Peak, and then also equally turned on by the Big Tune video, which is the whole DJ, seven-inch mixing thing. That's some diverse content right there.
The first thing we clicked on was the Holy Shit video section, which has the really outrageous sports stuff, including the fearless mountain-biking guys who see breaking a bone or two or three as no big deal.
Lucero: I think I actually clicked on that first, too.
Reeb: There really is a holy-shit factor in the Holy Shit section.
Crisman: I love the fact that there is a content area called Holy Shit. Just having that as a content area helps create the right vibe for all of your content.
Corey, do you wish users like yourself could upload your own videos to the Red Bull site?
Lucero: There are other places to do that, but it would be cool to have your video on the Red Bull Web site.
Crisman: There are so many different outlets for that. I think it shows some restraint that these guys didn't try to create an area where you can post stuff to the site.
What about the design of RedBull.com? Do you like the way it looks?
Reeb: When you think about Red Bull, you think about the dynamic or the energy that is related to Red Bull, the vitality that is related to it, but the site is very static.
Lucero: The top part of [the homepage] looked pretty good to me. As I scrolled down, it kind of reminded me of Facebook for some reason. I was okay with it, just because it was something I was used to seeing, everything broken up like that. But it could have been a little cooler.
Crisman: The visual approach to the site is actually a little conservative. As it stands right now, they have a featured video right up top, and that's awesome, and it's something I think most people are going to click on. But, Red Bull is all about your heart pounding like a hummingbird's, and seeing and hearing things that are super dramatic. I would look into doing something that would be like a flying kick to the spleen when you arrive at the site.
Were you guys interested in the games area of RedBull.com?
Lucero: I didn't even click on the games. I was looking at all of the videos and the photos. The videos were more than enough to keep me occupied.
Reeb: I don't think it's really necessary to have any games on the site unless they did something like a powerful, Internet-based multi-player game.
They take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and take great pains to assure everyone that the taurine in Red Bull is purely synthetic and not a derivative of bulls' testicles or semen. Anyway, aside from some information in the product section, you don't see the beverage promoted all over the site. None of the athletes were even shown drinking it from what I saw. What do you think of that soft-sell approach?
Crisman: It's great. This site leaves me with the impression that Red Bull is up inside everything that requires mega amounts of energy, and clearly they've decided that that doesn't mean you need to show somebody drinking the product every 20 seconds.
Reeb: I would definitely have a shot that relates to the product on the homepage. It would help with recognition and positioning from a visual standpoint. But I don't think the site has to talk about the product itself. It's like, what do you say when you make an advertisement about Coke? You say, "It's happiness in a bottle." You don't say, "It's sugar water." The little time that they spend on what taurine is [in the product section] is enough.
Corey, you really are the type of guy Red Bull wants to, at least, imagine is visiting this site, so how would you rate it on a scale from 1 to 10,
with 10 being the best it could be?
Lucero: On a scale from 1 to 10, I would say an 8, and now that I've been to the site, I'll definitely go back to keep up with what they've got going on with the events and the different sports.