Red Bull Fuels Supermoto

Viral web promo a precursor to DVD, broadcast

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%%STORYIMAGE_LEFT%% Like their sofa-lounging, traditional-sports-loving brethren, most action-sports fans prefer watching over actually doing. That's the theory, at least, behind an immersive Web-based experience aimed at motocross aficionados.

Red Bull, a longtime godfather to action-sports athletes and events, is quietly launching the online promotion this week as a way to speak to its computer-savvy young male target. In keeping with its anti-in-your-face marketing approach, Red Bull will take the underground tack with Supermoto Copilot, which could get a DVD release and a broadcast airing. Broader exposure won't come until the 2004 Supermoto season.

The energy-drink brand created the six-race Supermoto Championship Series this spring as a way to formalize a racing style that had bubbled up in local markets in recent years. It had been popular in the '70s, with ABC's "Wide World of Sports", then fell out of favor. Along with many things old school, it came back in the '90s. Supermoto is a hybrid that pits motocross, dirt and road racers against each other on part-pavement, part-dirt tracks. While setting up the nationally sanctioned Supermoto series, Red Bull also signed a sponsorship deal with rock star rider Jeremy McGrath, the Tony Hawk of the motocross set.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% To create the online experience, Los Angeles-based Science + Fiction staged a motocross race with McGrath and others, and shot it from seven different camera angles. Web surfers can pick the viewing angle. They also get interviews with McGrath, racing stats and video tours of the track.

"They wanted a tent-pole event," said Kevin Townsend, founder and managing partner of Science + Fiction, which produces branded programming, videos and commercials. "Their end game was to create footage that people would want to watch and tell their friends about."

Red Bull wants to educate the existing action fan base about Supermoto, and an interactive experience is one of the most effective ways to do so. "You can be in the hot seat," said Red Bull spokesman Steve Pegram. "Not a lot of people get that opportunity."

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