Not a lot of fizz, but plenty of bottle

PETER YORK ON ADS No 83: RED BULL
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The Independent Culture
MILLION-pound production values; spectacular computer-aided surrealism; famous youngish comedians with attitude; youth vox pops with goatee beards and Ray-Bans; much-loved pop classics. None of these staples of fizzy-drink advertising is evident in Red Bull's latest approach.

Instead we have a quiet little animation, almost monochrome, of a chap in a swivel-chair drawn in the manner of, say, the pre-Tina Brown New Yorker cartoons. He's a politician, a minister, being questioned by what sounds suspiciously like Ludovic Kennedy (the people who do ads these days!)

The questions are clever, insider ones - about Europe and MEPs. "Minister, you made explicit suggestions as to where Europe could put its parliament - and the left demanded you resign." Then on through a sequence of familiar ministerial U-turns, while the little animation shuffles its feet, ending with the challenge: "What now can save your ministerial career?"

It's all very grown-up, verbal and topical, like a dose of Ned Sherrin on Radio 4. Quite startlingly so for the product category. So one's expecting a bit of lights-music-action at the end. But it remains resolutely modest. Our minister's answer to the charges is to take a swig of Red Bull Energy Drink - whatever it may be - to the sound of a very trad organ fanfare. This is followed by the Red Bull pack-shot - Tory blue - and a very small dose of Chris Evans voice-over. "Never underestimate what a Red Bull can do." Lucozade Isotonic it ain't.

It's a singular little ad and it's caught me. But I reckon I'm not exactly the core target-market for energy drinks, which is something nearer that for Oxy-10 and Baywatch. Or is Red Bull patterned after the Phyllosan model?

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

Instead we have a quiet little animation, almost monochrome, of a chap in a swivel-chair drawn in the manner of, say, the pre-Tina Brown New Yorker cartoons. He's a politician, a minister, being questioned by what sounds suspiciously like Ludovic Kennedy (the people who do ads these days!)

The questions are clever, insider ones - about Europe and MEPs. "Minister, you made explicit suggestions as to where Europe could put its parliament - and the left demanded you resign." Then on through a sequence of familiar ministerial U-turns, while the little animation shuffles its feet, ending with the challenge: "What now can save your ministerial career?"

It's all very grown-up, verbal and topical, like a dose of Ned Sherrin on Radio 4. Quite startlingly so for the product category. So one's expecting a bit of lights-music-action at the end. But it remains resolutely modest. Our minister's answer to the charges is to take a swig of Red Bull Energy Drink - whatever it may be - to the sound of a very trad organ fanfare. This is followed by the Red Bull pack-shot - Tory blue - and a very small dose of Chris Evans voice-over. "Never underestimate what a Red Bull can do." Lucozade Isotonic it ain't.

It's a singular little ad and it's caught me. But I reckon I'm not exactly the core target-market for energy drinks, which is something nearer that for Oxy-10 and Baywatch. Or is Red Bull patterned after the Phyllosan model?

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

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