Red Bull Bike Short Summer Blockbuster YouTube Films

While the latest TV viewing figure claims for The Tour De France seem to range anywhere from 44m to 3.5bn people, one set of impressive summer bike viewing statistics that have a little more clarity are those for Red Bull’s twin blockbuster mountain bike webfilms – ‘Imaginate’ and ‘Peregrine Falcon Hunts Downhill Rider’.


Imaginate, a seven-minute short film starring stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill, has been topping the viral charts for much of the summer. On the official Red Bull YouTube Channel it has now racked up an astonishing 4,953,982 views (with 90,011 Likes) since it was published on 19 June.


Factoring in views on other channels and sites, the film has now comfortably surpassed the five million mark.


Whilst MacAskill’s previous Red Bull projects have focused on locations and journeys, Imaginate takes a very different creative direction.


Reported to have taken two years to make, the film/ad (depending on your perspective) is an realisation of the street trials rider’s mind, his imagination and his childhood brought to life.


The short features MacAskill performing stunts on full-scale replicas of children’s toys (such as building blocks, pencils and toy-train tracks).



The imaginatively shot short, accompanied by a soundtrack by Houston called ‘Runaway’ (http://goo.gl/LkdlE) has become the summer’s viral sensation. So much so it has expanded into an episodic format and includes bolt-on assets such as behind-the-scenes films and interactive elements (see http://imaginate.redbull.com/behind-the-scenes).


Hot on its heels/wheels is Red Bull’s latest film featuring mountain bike superstar Gee Atherton taking being hunted by a peregrine falcon.


Taking the well worn ‘man versus beast (well, bird)’ format, Artherton’s race against the world’s fastest creature was loaded online on 6 June and has clocked up 1,723,181 views and 12,234 Likes on Red Bull’s YouTube Channel.


It has also racked up a further 500,000-plus views on other YouTube and online sites.



The birdhunt creative, set in the epic North Wales landscape of Antur Stiniog and developed with Earth Unplugged, includes a slew of supporting material including:




A behind-the-scenes video


Plus a set of pictures from the shoot



The falcon experiment follows Artherton’s other recent work with energy drinks brand that includes ‘Red Bull Foxhunt’ which turns the classic hunting pastime on its head and updates it for a new generation as Gee (the fox) tries to hunt down the pack (a group of 100-plus experienced mountain bikers).





It may not be sponsorship activation, but this kind of brand-created content (twinned by ambassador endorsement deals) certainly sits in the same sphere.


Sponsorship professionals certainly need to take note of the evolving landscape.


The films sit on Red Bull’s YouTube Channel and are part of the brand’s objective of creating unique Red Bull experiences through exclusive online film series.


Both were created by Media House, the brand’s internal creative team which was first launched back in 2007, which creates original branded content across its own web, mobile, digital and publishing channels, as well as being a core partner of YouTube’s own strategy for creating original world class content.


Of course, Media House’s own objective is not to be a loss leader marketing arm for the drinks business, but to become a profitable world-leading global media network and content producer.




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