Opinion: marketing makes men into heroes

This is an article by Pete Finnegan.
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Lynx Space Academy launch (image from Digital Spy)

Lynx Space Academy launch (image from Digital Spy)

The Lynx Space Academy. Leave a man, come back a hero.

It’s a great idea isn’t it? The chance to go into space and all you have to do is win a competition.

Most people would look at it and think that it’s quite an original concept and it’s a great use of social media, TV advertisement, marketing and PR.  But is the idea original?

I’d argue that it isn’t.

Last year the whole world watched (and tweeted) whilst Felix Baumgartner jumped from space for the Red Bull Stratos. Felix became an instant hero and it attempted to create  a ‘where were you’ moment for our generation.

So you might be asking what does the Lynx Space Academy have to do with the Red Bull space jump other than the obvious connection of space?

Heroes and superheroes

I think it has everything to do with it. We are now living in a world were heroes are everywhere you look.

Take films over the last year or so. The genre that is dominating the box office at the moment is comic book adaptations and more specifically the superhero comic books. The Avengers did $1.5 billion worldwide last summer and became the third highest grossing film of all time in the process.

We had the third in the Batman trilogy in the Dark Night Rises and numerous others. This summer doesn’t look any different with the third Iron Man film, a well overdue reboot of Superman and the stream of hero films doesn’t look like it’s going to be ending anytime soon.

The concept of the hero doesn’t stop with the cinema either. Watch any advert for Sky Sports and they are trying to turn sportsmen (who, let’s face it, kick a ball, drive a fast car, try and hit a ball really hard, or tackle another guy) into heroes when they probably aren’t. (And this is coming from a HUGE sports fan.) Sky Sports aren’t even that bad. Don’t get me started on the Americans, just look at the Superbowl for a good example of hype.

The target demographic for Redbull and Lynx isn’t that different. Both are aimed at quite a young audience around the 16-24 age. They are both seen as aspirational for people younger than that. The only major difference being that Redbull is aimed at both men and women. Interestingly, the space academy stunt seems to be attracting older males. Perhaps they dream of being like Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin?

Do you have it in you?

You only have to look at the sponsorship that Redbull provides at the moment to see how invested they are in the concept of the everyday hero; an F1 team, motorcross, cliff diving, skateboarding, air racing all of which try to elevate the average man to the status of a hero. The aim of which are to show ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

But if we look at this from a business and in turn a PR perspective the aim of the campaigns are to drive sales.

Lynx launched a new scent called Apollo into the range of fragrances they already have. Clever huh? Selling products for these companies is absolutely the number one priority. If they can do that by getting people talking about them and buying their products then they have done their jobs. If they just happen to ‘create a hero’ at the same time then that’s an added bonus.

We now live in a society were being an average person is boring. People want to become more than that. They want to become heroes.

Lynx and Redbull have capitalized on that to create some really good and interesting PR and marketing campaigns. The one thing they aren’t is original.

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