The latest example of marketer-produced media arrives on Tuesday when Red Bull introduces the U.S. edition of its monthly Red Bulletin magazine.
Red Bulletin is starting out with 75,000 copies on newsstands in 20,000 locations, including Barnes & Noble, Target, Walgreens, Kmart, Borders and Safeway, with a cover price of $4.99; a free iPad edition; and subscriptions offered at an introductory rate of $12. But the bigger splash will come on Sunday, when Red Bull sends out 1.2 million copies of the 100-page June issue in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald and the Houston Chronicle. Subsequent issues will appear in the newspapers every month.
Red Bulletin joins other marketers' efforts to build their own media products, such as Procter & Gamble's quarterly Rouge magazine, Johnson & Johnson's Babycenter website and the Kraft Big Fork, Little Fork app for the iPad. They don't always work -- remember Bud.TV? -- but they appeal to marketers because they offer relationships with consumers and control over the environment that regular consumer media doesn't.
Marketers have long paid custom publishers to produce branded magazines for their customers, but Red Bull publishes Red Bulletin through its Red Bull Media House unit.
"We're entering a new age of media in terms of what consumers of content want and expect," said Associate Publisher Raymond Roker. "We really feel that Red Bull and Red Bull Media House are really uniquely positioned to fulfill the promise of the brand that's been in place for years. Now through the web, the app and print we really feel we can have that conversation in ways that are really unparalleled in the brand space."
Red Bulletin's tag line describes it as "almost independent," a bit of self-deprecating humor that might help readers look past, or appreciate, the Red Bull logos and athlete endorsers on most pages. The cover story features Tim Linceum, the San Francisco Giants pitcher who's sponsored by Red Bull. But there are also features and pages on dance subculture, food, street art and music, from Wiz Khalifa to Bob Dylan. Its production values match those at most consumer magazines.
For the full story on Red Bulletin, go to Adage.com.