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Red Bull: Branding As Art


There are a handful of dynamic brands that know how to connect with their consumers, and do so consistently in meaningful ways. The Red Bull “Art of the Can” contest, where artists can submit work to be showcased in an exhibition, is the latest example of a brand that knows how to deliver. While Dove and Bombay Sapphire have developed similar concepts, Red Bull remains innovative by using actual product packaging as an art medium.

This year Red Bull brought the Art of the Can Exhibit to Atlanta, Dallas, and Minneapolis. The Twin Cities show was held at the Frank Gehry-designed Weisman Art Museum in a stunning exhibition made up entirely of Red Bull-branded art. The Red Bull brand promise to “vitalize body and mind” was materialized through conceptual sculptural pieces (even a wedding dress!) made from empty Red Bull cans. While the show was heavily branded, it didn’t feel like an overt marketing attempt—but rather a legitimate, thoughtfully designed gallery show.

And they didn’t stop there. In an effort to keep in line with their core target audience, they created a multimedia experience using an online component in addition to the gallery show. Exhibit attendees could vote on their favorite piece for the “People’s Choice Award,” and then log on to the Art of the Can website to see how their pick ranked—a concept rarely seen in the fine art world.