You might not know this, Red Bull hats are exclusively for their sponsored athletes and there is no exception. Let me share 5 years of my experience and how you can be sponsored by the most sought after brand in extreme sports.
I was hanging out with a local RedBull Manager watching their rowing event from a rooftop. After sitting and chatting for a while he said he “I want to play a video for you" and we went downstairs. Ryan Doyle, Red Bull sponsored Freerunner, appeared on a projector and said “welcome to the family”.
I was congratulated and handed my very first hat with the iconic two bulls. I couldn’t believe it and wore my new cap like a crown, that’s how proud I was. Since then, my life has changed and largely because of it, but that’s a different story.
I know lots of you share this dream I’m living now and I wanted to give you some insight on how to get there, so let’s jump right into it and get real practical.
What is Red Bull looking for?
You probably know what you want RedBull to do FOR YOU, but do you know what you want to do FOR THEM? Think about what can you do for RedBull that nobody else can do better and why would they be interested in it? Below are some key points they look for in every athlete.
1. A Leader in their sport
Being an INTERNATIONAL leader in your sport is ESSENTIAL to being considered a candidate.
Doing the hardest tricks is one way you can do this, but just ONE way. I want you to know, I was never doing the most difficult or craziest tricks, but I managed to lead with style and creativity. Look at what makes you special and become a leader in that.
RedBull doesn’t need another Jason Paul or Travis Pastrana, they already have us. So instead of following our steps, you need to find your unique style and become a leader to others.
2. At the beginning of their career
I’m not sure how essential this is, but Red Bull gravitates towards younger talent. Instead of simply supporting the already established and successful dogs, they like the idea of finding young talent and supporting them towards the peak of their career.
3. The right personality
All the skill and talent in the world won’t get you anywhere, if you’re a dick. You’ll be representing their brand to the world, so being a standup dude with the right values in place is key.
Be able to represent yourself to others in person and on camera. The skill of talking to the camera or a reporter is important and speaking english is helpful. Of course, you don’t have to be perfect right from the start, they are there to help you grow and learn.
4. Drinks Red Bull
No brainer, if you don’t enjoy drinking Red Bull there’s really no point.
So how do I get their attention?
So you fit the profile and the only problem is that RedBull doesn’t know about your qualities, yet? They try their best to keep an eye on sports, send people to local contests and watch their communities, but of course there are ways to stand out from the crowd. Here is how and remember, nobody said it will be easy.
Social Media is more and more important in today’s marketing world. If you have a solid following on social platforms, it’s proof that people have interest in you, your relevancy and how you can carry a brand to the world.
You can show what content you produce on your own term which is super-valuable to them. Don’t even think about buying followers or any tricks, build a real audience that cares about what you do, Red Bull knows their shit.
Contests are the obvious way to prove your skill and dedication. Luckily, RedBull hosts their very own Art of Motion and winning one of these is a pretty safe bet that they will notice you. The proof is in the pudding, I believe winning the Art of Motion was substantial to my, Ryan Doyle’s and Dimitris Kyrsanidis’ sponsorship.
The Athlete Manager is the guy or girl looking after the athlete’s in their country. They are ultimately who you want to be talking to, because they can propose a new athlete international RedBull.
Who they are isn’t always obvious, so get creative. I was lucky enough to be working with a manager who had another athlete signed to them and that’s how we started talking.
Community Projects are a great way to reach out to Red Bull. Are you organising or involved in a local event or jam? Reach out to your closest Red Bull office and find out if there’s a way to collaborate.
Usually getting some Wings Girls to visit with their Mini and give out free cans is achievable and can be a great first step to building a relationship.
Be Creative there are a million other ways to do this and putting in effort for something special will be noticed.
Red Bull doesn’t fuck on the first date
So you are actually talking to Red Bull and think you have a good chance? My last advice is to romance a girl and take it step by step. You are going for a long-term relationship here and not a One-Night-Stand.
It can take months or years, before Red Bull moves from collaborating with an athlete on to sponsorship. Above all Red Bull cares about making cool content and experiences happen, find out how you can be a part of that and things will take it’s course naturally.
They take great care of you and the opportunities are endless once you’re in, so it’s worth it. Of course, this is just my personal insight and I’m in no way speaking for RedBull.
If anything I said above makes you feel like this goal is out of reach for you: Remember, there’s always an exception to the rule! Good Luck!