Red Bull’s Nontraditional Marketing Tactics Paper
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Red Bull’s Nontraditional Marketing Tactics Paper
Case studies are an important learning strategy in business classes as they provide an opportunity for you to critically analyze events that have taken place in real-life businesses. This develops your critical thinking and research skills as you research the competition and industry in which your business resides with an end goal of formulating a recommendation for the challenges faced by the company.
Select one of the three case studies listed below, which can be found in your textbook. Evaluate the case of your choice, and respond to each of the questions below using both theory and practical managerial thinking as well as supporting research.
Option 1: Red Bull (pp. 581–582)
What are Red Bull’s greatest strengths as more companies (like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Monster) enter the energy drink category and gain market share? What are the risks to their brand equity of competing against such powerhouses?
Discuss the pros and cons of Red Bull’s nontraditional marketing tactics. Should the company do more traditional advertising? Why, or why not?
Discuss the effectiveness of Red Bull’s sponsorships, advertisements, personal selling strategies, promotion, events, and public relations. Where should the company draw the line in terms of risk?
Recommend the next steps for Red Bull with respect to their marketing and advertising strategies.
Option 2: Gillette (pp. 612–613)
Gillette has successfully convinced the world that more is better in terms of number of blades and other razor features. How did they do it? Why has that worked in the past? Will it continue to work in the future? Why, or why not? Will Gillette ever become as successful at marketing to women as to men? Why, or why not?
Why have Gillette’s sports marketing partnerships been so successful in developing their brand equity?
Some of Gillette’s spokespeople such as Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods have run into controversy after becoming endorsers for the brand. Does this hurt Gillette’s brand equity or marketing message? Explain.
Discuss the effectiveness of their overall marketing campaign including advertising, personal selling, promotion, events, and public relations strategies.
Recommend next steps for Gillette with respect to their marketing and advertising strategies.
Option 3: Unilever (Axe and Dove) (pp. 632–633)
What makes personal marketing work? Why are Dove and Axe so successful at developing their brand equity?
Discuss the effectiveness of the overall marketing campaigns including advertising, personal selling, promotion, events, and public relations strategies.
Is there a conflict of interest in the way Unilever markets to women and young men? Is it undoing all the good that might be done in the “Campaign for Real Beauty” by making women sex symbols in Axe ads? Discuss.
Recommend next steps for Unilever with respect to their marketing and advertising strategies.
In formatting your case analysis, do not use the question-and-answer format; instead, use an essay format with subheadings. Your APA-formatted case study should be a minimum of 500 words in length (not counting the title and reference pages).
You are required to use a minimum of three peer-reviewed, academic sources that are no more than 5 years old (one may be your textbook). All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased material must have accompanying in-text citations.
Marketing Excellence Red Bull
Red Bull’s integrated marketing communications mix has been so successful that the company has created an entirely new billion-dollar drink category—energy drinks. In addition, Red Bull has become a multibillion-dollar beverage brand among fierce competition from beverage kings like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Anheuser-Busch.
To date, the company has sold more than 40 billion cans of energy drinks across 166 countries. How? Red Bull became the energy drink market leader by skillfully connecting with youth around the globe and doing it differently than anyone else.
Dietrich Mateschitz founded Red Bull with a single product in Austria in 1987. By 1997, the slender silver-and-blue can was available in 25 markets globally, including Western and Eastern Europe, New Zealand, and South Africa. Its size and style immediately signaled to consumers that its contents were different from traditional soft drinks.
Red Bull’s ingredients—amino acid taurine, B-complex vitamins, caffeine, and carbohydrates—were specifically formulated to make the drink highly caffeinated and energizing. In fact, some users have referred to it as “liquid cocaine” or “speed in a can.” Over the past decade, the company introduced other products and flavors, many of which did not succeed.
Today, Red Bull offers the original Red Bull Energy Drink, Red Bull Total Zero, Red Bull Sugar Free, and special editions infused with berry, lime, and cranberry flavors.
As the company continued to expand worldwide, it developed an integrated marketing communications plan that reached its target audience on many different levels and built its brand image of authenticity, originality, and community. First, Red Bull focused on pre-marketing, sponsoring events like the Red Bull Snowthrill of Chamonix ski contest in France to help build word-of-mouth excitement around the brand.
Once the company entered a new market, it built buzz through its “seeding program,” micro-targeting trendy shops, clubs, bars, and stores. This enabled the cultural elite to access Red Bull’s product first and influence other consumers. As one Red Bull executive explained, “We go to on-premise accounts first, because the product gets a lot of visibility and attention.
It goes faster to deal with individual accounts, not big chains and their authorization process.” The company also targeted opinion leaders likely to influence consumers’ purchases, including action sports athletes and entertainment celebrities.
Once Red Bull gained some momentum in bars, it moved into gyms, health food stores, restaurants, convenience stores near colleges, and eventually supermarkets. The company’s primary point-of-purchase tool has always been its refrigerated sales units, prominently displaying the Red Bull logo.
These set the brand apart from other beverages and ensure a prominent location in every retail environment. To guarantee consistency and quality in its point-of-purchase displays, the company hired teams of delivery van drivers whose sole responsibility was stocking Red Bull.
Another essential aspect of Red Bull’s marketing communication mix is product trial. Whereas traditional beverage marketers attempt to reach the maximum number of consumers with sampling, the company seeks to reach consumers only in ideal usage occasions, namely when they feel fatigue and need a boost of energy. As a result, its sampling campaigns take place at concerts, parties, festivals, sporting events, beaches, highway rest areas (for tired drivers), and college libraries and in limos before award shows.
Red Bull also aligns itself with a wide variety of extreme sports, athletes, and teams and artists in music, dance, and film. From motor sports to mountain biking, snowboarding to surfing, rock concerts to extreme sailing, there is no limit to the craziness of a Red Bull event or sponsorship.
A few company-sponsored events are notorious for taking originality and extreme sporting to the limit. For example, at the annual Flugtag, contestants build homemade flying machines that must weigh less than 450 pounds, including the pilot. Teams launch their contraptions off a specially designed Red Bull–branded ramp, 30 feet above a body of water.
Crowds of as many as 300,000 young consumers cheer as the contestants and their craft try to stay true to the brand’s slogan: “Red Bull gives you wings!”
Red Bull uses traditional advertising once the market has grown mature and the company needs to reinforce the brand to its consumers. As one executive explained, “Media is not a tool that we use to establish the market. It is a critical part. It’s just later in the development.”
Red Bull’s “anti-marketing” marketing communications strategy has been extremely successful connecting with its young consumers. It falls directly in line with the company’s mission to be seen as unique, original, and rebellious—just as its Generation Y consumers want to be viewed.
Marketing Excellence Gillette
Gillette knows men. Not only does the company understand what products men desire for their grooming needs; it understands how to market to men in different countries, cultures, and languages around the world. Today, Gillette holds a commanding lead in the shaving and razor business with a 70 percent global market share and $8 billion in annual sales.
More than 800 million men use Gillette products, helping to generate a brand value of $22.9 billion. Gillette’s mass appeal is a result of several factors, including high-quality innovation, extensive consumer research, and successful mass communications.
Since the invention of the safety razor by King C. Gillette in 1901, Gillette has made a number of breakthrough product innovations. These include the Trac II, the first twin-blade shaving system in 1971, a razor with a pivoting head called the Atra in 1977, and the first razor with spring-mounted twin blades dubbed the Sensor in 1989.
In 1998, Gillette introduced the first triple-blade system, Mach3, which became a billion-dollar brand surpassed only by the 2006 launch of the six-blade Fusion, promoted as “the best shave on the planet.” Today, the Fusion and Fusion ProGlide account for approximately 45 percent of men’s razors sold in the United States.
While Gillette has launched high-quality products, the company’s impressive marketing knowledge and mass marketing campaigns have helped it achieve international success. Traditionally, it uses one global marketing message rather than individual targeted messages for each country or region.
This message is backed by a wide spectrum of advertising support, including athletic sponsorships, television campaigns, in-store promotions, print ads, online advertising, and direct marketing.
Perhaps the most critical element is sports marketing. Gillette ads have featured baseball heroes such as Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and Honus Wagner since 1910, and the company’s sponsorship of Major League Baseball dates to 1939. The brand’s natural fit with baseball and tradition has helped the company connect emotionally and literally with its core audience.
Tim Brosnan, EVP for Major League Baseball, explains, “Gillette is a sports marketing pioneer that paved the way for modern day sports sponsorship and endorsements.” Gillette has formed strong ties to football as well. The company has sponsored the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Rose Bowl. Today, it spends $7 million annually to sponsor Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, and is a corporate sponsor of the NFL.
Gillette has also sponsored boxing matches, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Football, NASCAR, PGA Tour, Champions Tour, LPGA Tour, and the National Hockey League. Internationally, the company has sponsored events such as the FIFA World Cup, the UK Tri-Nations rugby tournament, the Gillette Cup in Cricket, and Formula One racing.
Greg Via, Global Director of Sports Marketing, explains, “We have an 18-month cycle that starts with a brand strategy. We produce a lot of products on a global basis, and we try to holistically leverage our major partnerships. That requires a lot of planning and work.
We’re not a company that is going to leverage a partnership with one commercial and one SKU. We wrap our arms around a partnership with TV, digital, social media and in-store promotions.” The company often integrates creativity into its sponsorships as well.
For example, it transformed Zambonis into giant Fusion razors at NHL games to create the illusion that a Gillette razor had just given the ice a perfectly smooth shave.
Gillette also partners with individual athletes to communicate its marketing messages and reflect the brand’s image. In 2004, the company signed soccer star David Beckham to appear in its advertising and promotional campaigns around the world.
In 2007, it launched the Gillette Champions program, highlighting the athletic accomplishments of Roger Federer, Thierry Henry, and Tiger Woods. It has featured baseball superstar Derek Jeter, soccer star Park Ji-Sung, motorcycle champion Kenan Sofuoglu, cricketer Rahul Dravid, and several NFL players.
While sports marketing is a critical element of Gillette’s marketing strategy, the brand aims to reach every man and therefore also aligns with musical acts, video games, and movies. In one James Bond film, Goldfinger, a Gillette razor contained a homing device.
Gillette’s advertising has resonated well with consumers over the years and left behind some of the most familiar taglines in advertising history. Two of the best known are “Look Sharp, Feel Sharp” and the current “The Best a Man Can Get.”
When Procter & Gamble acquired Gillette in 2005 for $57 billion (a record 5-times sales), it aimed to gain more than sales and profit. P&G, an expert on marketing to women, wanted to learn about marketing to men on a global scale, and no one tops Gillette. Today, shaving and grooming make up 9 percent of P&G’s total revenues, and razors are one of its most profitable businesses, with operating margins of 31 percent.
Marketing Excellence Unilever (Axe and Dove)
Unilever—manufacturer of several home care, food, and personal care brands—uses personal marketing communications strategies to target specific age groups, demographics, and lifestyles. The company has developed some of the most successful brands in the world, including Axe, a male grooming brand, and Dove, a personal care brand aimed at women.
The Axe brand launched in 1983, was introduced in the United States in 2002, and is now the most popular male grooming brand in the world, sold in more than 70 different countries. It offers young male consumers a wide range of personal care products such as body sprays, body gel, deodorant, and shampoo in a variety of scents.
It effectively broke through the clutter by finding the right target group and delivering personal marketing messages that touched home.
The biggest opportunity existed with males who might have felt a need for help in attracting the opposite sex and could easily be persuaded to buy products to help their appearance. Most Axe ads use humor and sex, often featuring skinny, average guys attracting beautiful girls by the dozen, hundreds, or even thousands after dousing themselves with Axe. The result: The brand is aspirational and approachable, and the lighthearted tone appeals to young men.
Axe has won numerous advertising awards not only for its creativity but also for its effective use of unconventional media channels. From edgy online videos to video games, mating game tool kits, chat rooms, and mobile apps, the Axe brand engages young adult males at relevant times, locations, and environments.
In Colombia, for example, a female Axe Patrol scopes out the bar and club scene and sprays men with Axe body sprays. Unilever Marketing Director Kevin George explained, “This is all about going beyond the 30-second TV commercial to create a deeper bond with our guy.”
Axe knows where to reach its consumers. It advertises only on male-dominated networks such as MTV, ESPN, Spike, and Comedy Central. It partners with the NBA and NCAA, which draw young male audiences, and runs ads during big sporting events.
After Axe’s Super Bowl commercial ran in February 2014, it was viewed on YouTube.com more than 100 million times. Print ads appear in Playboy, Rolling Stone, GQ, and Maxim. Axe’s online efforts via Facebook and Twitter help drive consumers back to its Web site, TheAxeEffect.com.
Unilever understands that it must keep the brand fresh, relevant, and cool in order to stay current with its fickle young audience. As a result, the company launches a new fragrance every year and refreshes its online and advertising communications constantly, realizing that new young males enter and exit the target market each year.
Axe’s success in personal marketing has lifted the brand to become the leader in what many had thought was the mature deodorant category.
On the other side of the personal marketing spectrum, Unilever’s Dove brand speaks to women with a different tone and message. In 2003, Dove shifted away from its historical advertising, which touted the brand’s benefit of one-quarter moisturizing cream, and launched the “Real Beauty” campaign.
“Real Beauty” celebrated “real” women and spoke personally to the target market about the notion that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors. The campaign arose from research revealing that only 4 percent of women worldwide think they are beautiful.
The first phase of the “Real Beauty” campaign featured nontraditional female models and asked viewers to judge their looks online and decide whether they were “Wrinkled or Wonderful” or “Oversized or Outstanding.” The personal questions shocked many but created such a large PR buzz that Dove continued the campaign.
The second phase featured candid and confident images of curvy, full-bodied women. Again, the brand smashed stereotypes about what should appear in advertising and touched many women worldwide. The third phase, “Pro-Age,” featured older, nude women and asked questions like, “Does beauty have an age limit?” Immediately, the company heard positive feedback from its older consumers. Dove also started a Self-Esteem Fund, aimed at helping women feel better about their looks.
In addition, Dove released a series of short Dove Films, one of which, Evolution, won both a Cyber and a film Grand Prix at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes in 2007. The film shows a rapid-motion view of an ordinary-looking woman transformed by makeup artists, hairdressers, lighting, and digital retouching to end up looking like a billboard supermodel. The end tagline is: “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.” The film became an instant viral hit.
Dove followed up with Onslaught, a short film that showed a fresh-faced young girl being bombarded with images of sexy, half-dressed women and promises of products to make her look “smaller,” “softer,” “firmer,” and “better.” Dove’s 2013 film called Sketches featured a police sketch artist who drew two pictures of the same woman.
For one, the woman described herself to the sketch artist from behind a curtain, and for the other, a total stranger described her. The difference in language and descriptions revealed how women are often their harshest beauty critics. The ad ended with the tagline “You are more beautiful than you think.” The Sketches film has become the most watched video advertisement of all time and had more than 175 million views in its first year alone.
Dove’s latest effort to change the attitudes of women and promote positive self-esteem was called the Ad Makeover. The campaign appeared only on Facebook and gave women the power to replace negative ads (such as for plastic surgery or weight-loss products) on their friends’ Facebook pages with positive messages from Dove like “Hello Beautiful” and “The Perfect Bum Is the One You Are Sitting On.”
Unilever in effect bought the ad space from Facebook for the positive ads to appear on the friend’s site, effectively squeezing out the negative ads. During the first week the Ad Makeover app was launched, 171 million banners with negative messages were replaced.
Although the Axe and the Dove campaigns have both sparked much controversy and debate, they couldn’t be more different. Yet both have effectively targeting their consumer base with personal marketing strategies and spot-on messages. In fact, in the 10 years that Dove has focused on changing women’s attitudes and promoting positive self-esteem, sales have jumped from $2.5 billion to $4 billion. Axe is not only the most popular male grooming brand in the world, but also Unilever’s best-selling brand
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The background and/or significance are missing. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is no integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are not included in the summary of information presented. Conclusion does not contain a biblical integration.
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