Ad of the Day: Red Bull's Huge and Absurd Rube Goldberg Machine | Adweek Ad of the Day: Red Bull's Huge and Absurd Rube Goldberg Machine | Adweek
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Ad of the Day: Red Bull

The energy drink rigs up an absurdly giant Rube Goldberg machine powered by athletes

What is the correct way to drink a Red Bull?

It's simple: First, get your celebrity skydiving buddy to jump out of a helicopter. He'll parachute down to a retired Marine base in Irvine, Calif. After landing, he'll jump on a pad that's rigged to trigger a complex and never-ending sequence of mechanical gadgets and non-mechanical humans—specifically, all of your other successful sports pals, performing a few totally whatever stunts like motocross backflips and stunt driving and jumping hurdles.

Eventually, just when you might be getting a little tired just from watching it all unfold, a couple of mechanically rigged pickaxes will sort-of-but-not-really automatically break the solid block of ice in which you keep your Red Bull adrenaline juice chilly and fresh, so now you can crush that sweet can in one gulp to refuel, and now you're definitely not tired anymore, you are pumped up and ready to get into a helicopter and jump out, too, because you are hard-core like professionally hard-core snowboarder Pat Moore.

At least, that's the way it's done in this new six-minute Red Bull video. The ad features a cavalcade of Red Bull extreme-sports endorsers linking up inside a Rube Goldberg machine that seems even more ridiculously elaborate than most Rube Goldberg machines, which are all the rage. It was created with the help of Adam Sadowsky of Synn Labs, a Los Angeles-based creative collective that saw some members split off to launch a competing venture earlier this year but has historically been responsible for other high-profile branded Rube Goldberg stunts like OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass" video (funded in part by State Farm). The Red Bull production required some 100 workers over 17 days to set up, according to Gizmodo. Twenty-three NASA aeronautical engineers, mechanical engineers and former Disney engineers worked with Sadowsky and the athletes, per Fast Company. In addition to Moore, the video features the likes of cyclist Danny Macaskill, runner Lolo Jones and drifter Rhys Millen. The video's title, "Kluge," which Merriam-Webster defines as "a system … made up of poorly matching components," is decidedly apt.

Long and clumsy as the contraption is, it's also plenty entertaining, and a nice addition to the brand's portfolio of sponsored content (which includes, of course, Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking freefall from the edge of space last month). Still, it loses some of its cool factor by virtue of not being single shot. Or, as one YouTube commenter said, "you could just open the fridge."

That's kind of missing the point, though—as much as it's about Red Bull selling more soda, it's about Red Bull proving it's not just making advertising. It's helping pull off crazy stunts that are much cooler.

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