Red Bull's surfboard sharing service feels untimely in midst of coronavirus crisis

Effort ran in Brazil's summer season, just as pandemic was hitting the country

Published On
Mar 16, 2020

Editor's Pick

As our lives change from minute to minute and we have to modify our everyday actions in the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic, the lens through which we view normal things—even cool things—can take a dark tinge. 

Take this recent idea from Brazilian agency DPZ&T for Red Bull. Timed to Brazil’s summer season, the energy drink brand teamed with urban micromobility company Grow to introduce a new surfboard sharing service over the course of four weekends beginning on February 15 and running through March 1. Surfers or those wanting to try out the sport could use a special app to unlock four different board kiosks across Rio de Janeiro during that period.

Yet this fun new development in the sharing economy now feels untimely as communities across the world are looking to curb potential transmission of COVID-19 in myriad ways. The effort ran just as the coronavirus was starting to spread in Brazil, with the first case confirmed in the country on February 25 and Rio de Janeiro confirming its first cases on March 5.

It’s just the latest example of how otherwise innocuous campaigns or even innovative ideas now seem to feel like the wrong message in the middle of the global health crisis.

Ad Age reached out to the agency for comment and has yet to hear back.