Red Bulletin Magazine: From an independent magazine to a media house

It started as a small magazine that was produced in real-time at the race track of Formula 1 and grew into a large media house including several magazines, a TV channels and a record company. At Super Content Marketing 2016 the directing editor of the Red Bulletin Magazine, Robert Sperl, spoke about the journey from a small magazine into a men’s lifestyle magazine produced worldwide. Below he shares some of the key components of creating a successful brand.

The Red Bulletin was first born on the race track of Formula 1 in 2005. The founder of Red Bull, Dietric Mateschitz, came up with the idea to produce a magazine right at the tracks based on the idea that Formula 1 likes a “sense of humour”. The production of the magazines was enabled by building a 175m2 office by the tracks where the editorial team could produce and print the publications.

In 2007 the magazine was transformed into a real man’s lifestyle magazine and was named the Red Bulletin. According to Sperl the stunt of the Formula 1 publications is a good example of how the Red Bulletin works: to produce things that other people say are crazy and to overcome obstacles that are difficult to overcome.

The Red Bulletin was first launched in Austria but is now produced in eleven countries. The productions of the magazines are controlled from the head office in Vienna.

Each magazine is produced in the local language and consists of 70 per cent international content, that stays the same for all countries, and 30 per cent local content, produced specifically for each country. Sperl noted that the local touch of each magazine is important in order to give the reader the impression that the magazine is produced specifically for him.

At Super Content Marketing Sperl emphasised the importance of being smart and doing things differently. When the magazine was launched in Austria they partnered with some of the biggest newspapers. The deal was that the Red Bulletin would produce a “fresh and smart” lifestyle magazine for free for the newspapers and in return the papers would contribute by enclosing the magazine every first Tuesday each month. By doing so the Red Bulletin not only reduced their distribution costs but they also reached a monthly publication rate of 1.1 million copies, compared to the total population of 8 million people.

“We aim for the best, which is no risk, because the danger is never to aim too high and fail, the danger is to aim too low and succeed”, Sperl told the audience at Berns.

The directing editor of the magazine noted that the success behind the magazine is based on “extraordinary” commitment of telling stories differently and by being very specific in their targeting.

The magazine targets men in the ages between 25 and 35 who are open-minded, success oriented, sporty and enjoy life. Sperl said: “In our office we have a virtual picture of a virtual person, hanging on a virtual wall. The prototype of the Red Bulletin reader.”

By their specific target group the Red Bulletin is able to produce content that all of their readers can understand and be inspired by.

3 key take-aways:

  1. Find your niche in order to stand out among other brands: become the best within your field.
  2. Dare to do things differently!
  3. Be specific in your targeting: make sure to know your audience and exactly what they want in order to create a product specifically for them.