All change for global brands, even James Bond

Brand Republic recently published a six-point guide to how Red Bull has torn up the branding and marketing guidebook with their Stratos project. It’s a good point, but consumer brands are changing how they interact with all of us on a daily basis – not just with big events like the Red Bull mission to have man parachute to earth from space.

Look at the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. Bond is famous for only ever drinking Martini – shaken not stirred – and yet in this film he only drinks beer. And not just any beer – Bond only drinks Heineken, because they sponsored the production of the movie. I actually saw Roger Moore in a bar just a couple of weeks ago and he was drinking Martini, so a former Bond is off-message as far as the current producers are concerned!

During the London Olympics many brands were in the spotlight due to the perceived threat of guerrilla branding – individuals using the global spotlight to promote a brand that has not sponsored the games. There was no major event of guerrilla marketing in London, unlike the last football World Cup, but even the main sponsors were taking a different approach to advertising. For example, Coca Cola built the largest Coke dispenser in the world – as big as an entire building with an enormous button dispensing free Coke to passers-by.

This has all been happening for a long time – cast an eye back at the movie Bladerunner from over 30 years ago and it is clear how brands were already entering culture and normal daily life back then – even though it was a supposed vision of the future.

Anyone involved in marketing and sales should be taking an interest in all these projects whether you are working with a B2C or B2B brand. One of the key changes that draws all these marketing approaches together is social media. Red Bull achieved the highest ever simultaneous views for a single event on YouTube with their Stratos jump and Coke did not just build their enormous dispenser, they filmed it and released the film online.

Almost every major rock concert is now sponsored by a brand, helping artists to cover the cost of touring, and popular TV shows are supported by brands. I’m interested in exploring how far the readers of this blog think that advertising and marketing of brands might go – how far can it progress and have you seen any particularly innovative B2B brands that are employing some of the same techniques as the consumer brands?

Red Bull Stratos - Felix Baumgartner

Photo by Cyril Attias licensed under Creative Commons

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