Red Bull pops open branded energy boost on 'Pac-Man'
- Red Bull introduced limited-edition packaging that lets people unlock exclusive brand-themed game content in the mobile version of "Pac-Man." Specially marked cans of the energy drink have a code underneath the tab that players can enter into the app to unlock Red Bull World mazes, according to an announcement.
- "Pac-Man" can eliminate enemy ghosts in their non-edible form after gobbling a Red Bull can that pops up in the game's maze. Players also can win extra points when the player eats Red Bull letters instead of cherries on each special level. Red Bull and Bandai Namco, the publisher of "Pac-Man" video games, also provided downloadable "Pac-Man" sounds for customization on a digital soundboard at pac-man.redbull.com.
- To mark the promotion, skydivers in the "Red Bull Air Force" played a game of "Pac-Man" in the sky. Real-life skydiver Jon Devore portrayed "Pac-Man," avoiding skydivers dressed as blue, red, pink and orange "ghosts" as he jumped from a plane.
Red Bull's latest mobile campaign is a creative way to combine the energy drink with the frenetic gameplay of "Pac-Man" by incorporating brand visuals into customized game levels. Requiring "Pac-Man" fans to buy Red Bull to unlock the exclusive video game content could help to drive sales of the energy drink, whose customers generally consist of young males who shop at convenience stores, according to InfoScout Omnipanel.
Red Bull has been active this year in creating specialized packaging that activates mobile experiences. The brand in March sold limited-edition cans that had Snapchat Snapcodes to unlock two augmented reality (AR) experiences. To promote the effort, Red Bull produced a prank video of Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant disguised as a pizza delivery person who visits unsuspecting fantasy league players while they made their draft picks. The brand also offered free samples through Cargo, a startup that sells snacks and toiletries in ride-hail cars, during the week of the Super Bowl to drive brand awareness and encourage future purchases of the energy drink.
Red Bull's mobile push also included a test of Canadian messaging app Kik's Kin, a cryptocurrency rewards feature. The brand asked users for thoughts on ad copy to determine their preferences of images — either a picture of someone riding a mountain bike or diving off a cliff — to accompany the tagline "soaring into the sunset."
Apart from the mobile elements of the campaign, the use of the Red Bull Air Force to reenact a game of "Pac-Man" with skydivers is the type of extreme sports stunt the brand is known for. Red Bull in September teamed with Kia to build a drift car and film racer Collette Davis jumping over it. Both the skydiving "Pac-Man" game and the drift car are akin to the videos that can go viral on social media and earn the brand additional exposure and engagement.
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