Three Content Marketing Mavericks

Yes, “getting” content marketing can be easier said than done. But once you know, you see it everywhere: those fun reels, that free ebook, the amazing magazine that’s free, the YouTube channel filled with all your favourite shorts. 

There are lots of small examples, but we love when brands go BIG with content marketing.  These are some of our favourite storytellers who use content to market, while seeming like they aren’t marketing at all. So fancy! 

Each one invests in connection with their unique audience by delivering valuable content – in whatever form that takes – and it takes many forms — from daredevil films, to Youtube TV, to telling people why not to buy from you. We love these ones and we hope you do too.


RedBull: ​​Stunt-Led Marketing Magic


It gives you wings! And this brand is flyin’ high. Some *genius* decided that instead of trying to sell drinks, they’d sell a lifestyle. This is an energy drink, not an extreme sport company and yet they turned their focus from traditional marketing (ads, campaigns, promos) to content filled with daredevil narratives saturated with heart.



Everything they do hinges on knowing their customers. They found where they were, showed up, and went for it:  Creating films, YouTube channels, docs, and stunts that would all be a little easier with an energy boost (hint, hint, wink, wink). The true content marketing of it all was the absence of a bait–and-switch — the materials never flips to a sales pitch. They keep the focus on the event or the experience, not the drink. 

They know where their audience is and they show up. Extreme sports, all-day rock shows (think Coachella). Using the simple concept “Give people wings and ideas,” they are able to make fast-paced, boundary-pushing, creative decisions. They aren’t constantly redoing their logo or their slogan, they are focused on their content: 

“Red Bull’s content core revolves around the intersection between their audience’s interest for extreme sports, festivals, and a fast-paced lifestyle with their product’s ability to keep people awake and give them energy during those events.”

What they have done is creative, ingenious, and cutting-edge. They are the OG drink but they keep that market share because of their unflinching strategy, showing-upness, and deep knowledge of their audience. Their brand (and their customers) definitely have wings.


U By Kotex: Tampons on TV


Yup, those black box tampons. A strong visual brand matched with a strong voice, happy to talk about menstruation, openly. U By Kotex waved good-bye to the blue water on the thick pad to have some real period talk. And some real creativity. Period. 

The big-thinkers around their marketing table thought way outside the black box and created the YouTube TV show Carmilla, the story of one girl and her Vampire roommate. Young women, vampires, periods, and an eclectic group of friends. Hijinks ensue! Can you even with that? It’s brilliant! On the right platform, with the right medium, and both on-and-off topic enough that they can tell a great story without being, like, “BUY OUR TAMPONS.”



That rich audience knowledge is what supplies these amazing ideas. Knowing a lot of the people who need tampons are gamers, they went for it. The creation of Pad Land, an 8-bit (read: old school) video game supported the launch. The old graphics told the story of old tech, including old menstrual tech. Chef’s kiss! 

Refusing to be stuck in the marketing-mire of menstrual products unlocked levels of genius for this vibrant, colourful brand. And it was all content.


Patagonia: Value-Driven Everything


Just their name is a quick “oh yes, them” brand. A brand who drives (in an electric car, of course) everything through their values – a brand that somehow promotes sales while being anti-consumerist. Yes, bend your mind about that. 

Here’s how they do everything a little differently. Rather than the typical 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion), Patagonia emphasizes 4 very different Ps: people, planet, purpose, and profits. 

Using these values, their decision making matrix of what matters changes drastically. They have to mean what they say, and they aren’t shy about it. Beyond their quality-driven items, they offer services that help them not sell (but also sell their materials. Honestly. It’s hard.) Examples include their super-clear Don’t Buy This Jacket ad on Black Friday and the Worn Wear program. On top of their transparent language, they support the services that make the slogan true. Their product guarantee means everything gets fixed: the elbows that keep wearing through? Fixed. The zipper on the backpack you’ve used daily for 6 years? Fixed. AND they empower you to fix it yourself, offering repair guides to get the most wear out of your goods. 

Patagonia attracts an audience who is after that depth of integrity. Motivated by their 4 Ps, Patagonia markets services, experiences, and practices that sell their values, and in turn, sell their products. 

With these solid habits in play, Patagonia went a step further, developing podcasts and films that tell the story of the planet and our interactions with it. Sure, people are often wearing Patagonia while doing the work, but sales aren’t even a part of the conversation. The content backs up with their people/planet values, and speaks for themselves.


I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Content Marketing


See? Aren’t they something else?! These companies have taken the mundane task of marketing and approached it via content marketing to find creative, delightful, inspirational expressions of their brand. It’s fun to watch and even funner to imagine what they’ll do next.


Sarah Whyte is Bright Light Content’s Copywriter and Brand Strategist. She’s a quick talking, avid reader who delights in noticing big truths in everyday places.

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