How Red Bull Quietly Took Over NYC for Its Red Bull Music Academy Event

Doubleday & Cartwright blankets city

There's nothing subtle about Red Bull the drink—it gives you wings, after all—but Red Bull the marketer decided to keep its messaging low-key around a recent New York entertainment/pop-culture event. Title sponsorship aside, the brand promoted its two-week Red Bull Music Academy mostly with logo-free wallscapes, subway and outdoor ads, wild postings, website takeovers and a free, daily, non-advertorial, 80,000-circulation newspaper. (Sample story: "Celluloid Heroes: New York Cinema and Its Soundtracks.") The omnipresent, art-heavy campaign, from Brooklyn-based ad agency Doubleday & Cartwright, pointed local music fans to the academy's collaborations, performances, workshops and labs, using spokesman Questlove as a focal point. (See some of the work in progress in the video below.) Attendance was reportedly strong, propping up the idea of content marketing as a way to speak to hard-to-corral hipsters and young music lovers.