Creative impulse

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The Independent Online
Earlier this month Red Bull launched what it called "the first ever graffiti advertising campaign", at a cost of pounds 2m. Its first stage has seen an army of signwriters daubing original visuals (a Red Bull can against a plain white background) overnight with spray paint to produce new advertising messages each week. Posters have been displayed in all major city centres, with a strapline that reads: "Caution: Do not drink when you want to sleep." Further executions will run in national newspapers, style titles and the sports press.

The client: Red Bull

Rajeev Saxena, marketing director

This brand has been around for over a year now, and we mounted an ad campaign at launch which worked very well to generate awareness of it. But it emerged that while just under 70 per cent of people had heard of Red Bull, many just didn't know what it was - they thought it was a lager or a cider. We had to resolve that, by explaining more clearly what it is.

We're in a difficult position, because the market norms here are set by Lucozade. But Lucozade primarily focuses in fluid replacement after sport, and because Red Bull gives a lift before activity we do not want to compete head to head. What we wanted to get across is that Red Bull is a stimulation drink, with both physical and mental benefits, in an irreverent, energetic and unique way.

The agency: KLD

David Jenkins, account director

Red Bull is an everyday drink that will help you live life to the fullest, and we identified students, clubbers, sportsmen and career achievers as the people it's most likely to appeal to. We had to get to each of these groups in a way that was maverick and witty, and that would poke fun at establishment norms. The graffiti idea not only expresses what the product is about - graffiti is an individualistic and irreverent art form - but also gives us the scope for mounting different expressions of what Red Bull is, with the spray paint additions.

Each execution is aimed at a particular sector of our market, and so far the right people have responded to the message specifically aimed at them. One execution, which had the cans representing starting blocks with a runner's feet graffitied on, was aimed at the sports people, telling them the drink will keep them going when practising. Another, "IQ", was for the students and careerists, telling them that Red Bull clears your mind when you need to concentrate. The "caution" underneath is used because whenever you caution someone about something, it tends to arouse their interest further; "Do not drink when you want to sleep" draws attention to the caffeine content, which provides the "stimulation" promised on the can.

Some sites were graffitied for real, though some posters went up pre- graffitied - to have hired people to graffiti them all would have been cost-prohibitive. The aim was to create the perception that all the sites had been graffitied, which gave a campaign that needed to deliver factual product benefits a strong element of fun.