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Red Bull X-Alps. A Hallmark Event Model for the Content Marketing Industry

"Red Bull is a media company that happens to sell energy drinks", a quote attributed to Red Bull’s Austrian founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Chrigel Maurer. Red Bull X-Alps 2021, Zell am See. Picture: Sebastian Marko / Red Bull Content Pool

The Red Bull X-Alps 2021 officially has finished last Friday, July 2th at 11:30 AM at Zell am See, a picturesque lakeside resort in the Salzburg district, Austria.

Red Bull X-Alps is the world’s toughest adventure race and an amazing sport event. It’s a hike and fly battle across 1,238 kilometers of alpine terrain in which competitors run, hike up mountains and fly by paraglider.

The concept for Red Bull X-Alps was inspired by Toni Bender’s first crossing of the Alps in 1999. His hiking and paragliding adventure became the subject of a documentary that caught the eye of renowned Austrian pilot Hannes Arch. This is what inspired Arch and his long-time friend Ulrich Grill to ask themselves if such incredible feats could be made into a competition for the most determined individuals on the planet.

"I thought it would be cool to base a paragliding competition on this format and build a basic concept for it – that’s how the idea was born!" Arch explains. "Together with Red Bull, we developed the idea until it became what it is today; an unparalleled test of human endurance in the form of an adventure race", adds Grill.

The first edition of Red Bull X-Alps took place in 2003. Since then, every two years we have attended a new edition until we reach this tenth edition that finished in Zell am See.

The tenth edition started in Salzburg, Austria, on June 20, 2021. This year’s route is the longest and most challenging in the race’s history, and a radical break from the past. Instead of finishing in Monaco in the Mediterranean Sea; athletes travel an out-and-back route across the Alps from Salzburg to Mont Blanc to Zell am See, Austria, via 12 Turnpoints in five countries.

Brands such as Red Bull and GoPro are the content marketing pillars that have created the foundations of what a great content marketing strategy is all about! (Julia McCoy. SocialMediaToday, 2015). Red Bull focuses on the audience and what is important to them and what made them passionate about their scene, their sport.

"One of the major ways Red Bull wins in content marketing is that they always put their customers first. This is a great way to interact with their client base and make people feel welcome. While their customers might not necessarily participate in extreme sports or the other events Red Bull sponsors, their client base still enjoys watching them. The company states that the product is completely secondary. What comes first is what the customer wants and how the company can deliver and meet those wants and needs", (Julia McCoy. SocialMediaToday, 2015).

"The launch of Red Bull Media House marked the first time a brand truly transcended from being an advertiser (tangential to the feature story) to becoming the feature story itself", (Doug Zanger. The Drum, 2016).

Red Bull Media House is a subsidiary media company launched in Austria in 2007. The Red Bull Media House takes care of all the major parts of Red Bull’s content marketing, including its presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. (10.1 M subscribers and 2,472,613,741 views -June 30, 2021- on YouTube make Red Bull Media House one of the top five producers of sports content in the world).

Red Bull Media House fully integrates social media marketing into every project. "Red Bull understands the need for multiple content formats because they understand people consume it differently", (Julia McCoy. SocialMediaToday, 2015). The brand was an early adopter of social media, through paid media, including TV buys, remain a part of the mix.

Chrigel Maurer at Zell am See. Red Bull X-Alps 2021. Picture: Sebastian Marko / Red Bull Content Pool

Christian "Chrigel" Maurer (Switzerland, picture attached) has won the Red Bull X-Alps 2021, for the seventh consecutive time. In a time of 8 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes, and 28 seconds Chrigel Maurer made it to the finish line in Zell am See. Fellow countryman Patrick von Känel took second place after a neck and neck sprint to the finish line with Austria’s Simon Oberrauner.

Race organizer Ulrich Grill said: “The legend reinvented! Again, Chrigel Maurer puts his stamp on Red Bull X-Alps 2021. For a moment we thought that the French may have finally cracked the hero’s winning series until he struck back with one of his famous moves. Absolutely astonishing. This deserves massive applause. We bow to the seven-time champion, Chrigel the Eagle!"

Chrigel Maurer made his debut appearance at Red Bull X-Alps 2009 and claimed the title from two-time winner Alex Hofer who came in a day later to take second place. The two were the only finishers of the event in which Maurer set a new record for the competition at 9 days, 23 hours, and 54 minutes.

Patrick von Känel, Chrigel Maurer, and Simon Oberrauner. Picture: Christian Lorenz / Red Bull Content Pool


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