#AlienForClubs #AlienForMLS

Tattoo on the face that can destroy the New York Red Bulls’ marketing

New York Red Bulls

Tattoo shop. A young girl and her boyfriend are getting the New York Red Bulls logo tattooed on their hands.

“What a cool idea they’ve come up with in the New York Red Bulls,” the girl says.

Do you want to know what is the cool idea of the New York Red Bulls all about and why is this young couple getting their hands tattooed? That’s what a new release of #AlienForMLS is out there for!


Folks it’s the sixth issue of #AlienForMLS. I’m offering teams some interesting marketing decisions, explaining from the point of view of sports neuromarketing why it will bring success.

Previous issues were about Portland Timbers/Seattle Sounders, LAFC, the possible David Beckham’s teamSan Jose Earthquakes, and New York City FC. And I’m sure to get to your team! So follow me on Twitter not to miss it!

To have a better picture of what is going on, I recommend that you first read the general introduction to the posts on the New York clubs, as well as the post on why I don’t like New York City FC marketing.

Having examined New York City FC, we’ve got to turn now to the club which fans never tire of claiming the New York to be red.

First, it should be noted that Red Bull brand strategy tracks with a similar one of an MLS sponsor, Audi namely.

It is known that Audi’s marketers are particularly fond of becoming the title sponsor of contests and music festivals with their target audience (MLS pretty well fits into that definition too, but inserting its brand into the name of the league was seemingly a kind of mission impossible. But anyway, the MLS Cup is also a great achievement).

Red Bull figured out to try and mix different strategies. The marketers of the company decided to bring a sort of franchise of clubs in different championships (which I’ve earlier written about with regard to New York City FC) together with a brand of energy drink under one brand.

Is this the right country for such a vivid imagination like yours, folks? Wouldn’t it be better to have finished up with Austria first? Austria Red Bulls would be an excellent name for the country.

I understand this logic pretty well. One gets so oversaturated with advertising today, that it has to be put in a much more prominent place to be noticed. But still there is a big difference between the perception of Audi as a title sponsor of MLS Cup, a sponsor of all kinds of geek data (as for me, an excellent activation of sponsorship in relation to the target audience of Audi), and the perception of the Red Bull brand as an energy drink, rather than a football club.

It is known that the sponsor’s brand has to be taken in the context, otherwise the effectiveness of the money spent on the sponsorship would be very low (or even negative). One has to have certain limits, however.

It’s just lucky for you that no one in the US is interested in your Austria and Germany clubs (although in Germany they hate RB Leipzig, perhaps, even more than any other club ever in the history of German football) and that your energy drink is popular among other target audiences.

You’ve chosen to make your brand so uninviting, have you? Well, it’s your business. But please, let us pay a little more respect to American fans, okay?

Have you forgotten what you got in your native Austria?

Or in Germany?

If I were to support a football club, which uses some brand, I would obviously root for something more solid than an energy drink. For Apple FC, at least.

I’d really like to know what the prime cause of such a solution of the Red Bull’s direction is. Was it just a desire to ingage in football that the company’s brand was used for?

Or was it an intention to increase energy drink sales by using sports? In this case it would clearly be more effective to use the brand as a title sponsor, rather than a name. However, as a result, this circumstance took on this life of its own.

“In literal financial terms, our sports teams are not yet profitable, but in value terms, they are,” – Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull.

Ask Siemens marketers how costly is the short-term involvement of the company in cell phone business for them now? It’s evident that one should choose one thing to associate your brand with in the minds of customers.

I can only tell you that I really admire the achievement of the Red Bull brand as that of an energy drink. Even though, unlike many marketers, I’m not a big fan of the Red Bull’s marketing.

We’ve got to realize that the brand keeps on operating according to the strategy that was adopted 30 years ago. But now, marketing has advanced deep into the brain.

As in the case of New York City FC, the strategy of the kind did provide the New York Red Bulls with rapid growth, the brand is highly recognizable indeed, and it’s a common knowledge that men are more likely to stick to brand names they recognize. But it does not negate the fact that it is a non-football brand. And if this brand becomes a football one, it will cease to be an energy drink brand.

Red Bull, you manage to both overestimate and underestimate the capacity of human brain.

I feel bad about this umbrella brand European stuff getting over to the US. While listening to a prominent European marketer’s admiring speeches on Googles’ lack of positioning, I’ve got ever more convinced that Europe is a hopeless place, one should learn nothing from. All the more it concerns marketing. And even more so, sports marketing.

Well, if you don’t like the position of classic marketers on the brand, then lend your ear to neuromarketing at least, which says the same stuff.

I confess that I like your team, I like the football it demonstrates, but for all that, I’m not enthusiastic over your strategy.

Just fancy you are a die-hard fan of the Portland Timbers, who has him/her tattooed with the club’s logo. And now let’s imagine a die-hard fan of the New York Red Bulls, who in a similar manner has him/her tattooed with the club’s logo.

If you’ve managed to picture something like that, you either have a vivid imagination, or you have come across somebody with thereto logos of Pepsi and some fast food brands tattooed on his/her body. In other words, if you’ve got real die-hard fans, I’m sure brands like Audi don’t want them as a target audience even with extra charge.

What do I suggest? So my solution for the New York Red Bulls would be engaging a male tattoo model, who’ll have him tattooed with the club’s logo, whereupon PR department is to do its job.

In that way we can shift positioning of the club’s brand to a more attractive level, because I’ve got a pretty strong suspicion that if we test your brand for associations, emotions and motivations evoked in consumers, we’ll hardly get the best of results.

In the case of New York City FC we see that the club’s marketers at least tried to find balance between two basic aspects of the design: novelty and familiarity, whereas you didn’t even try.

After the model tattooing campaign, “Free season ticket for a tattoo” campaign can be launched.

For getting a small tattoo in a place that can easily be hidden under the clothes you’ll get 1 season free, for getting a tattoo on your hands – 3 seasons free.

One might consider the option with getting a tattoo on the face (a lifetime ticket free), in this case, however, both the tattooed and other people might have strong negative emotions later on toward the brand, because society is not that positive about tattoos on the face.


Best regards,

Leon The Alien


SEE ALSO: The way NASL and USL can compete with MLS

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Images: New York Red Bulls, Pexels