The difference is not positioning; it’s experience. Branded experiences are designed interactions that leverage the inherent stickiness of participation—the strongest driver of preference we know. Red Bull has woven its brand into human experiences—not just as a sponsor, but as a participant. They walk the walk: the brand could almost be called a fan.
Red Bull’s “sponsored” experiences credibly inspire many of their consumers to authentically participate in creating and sharing “branded experiences” such as Flugtag. Mountain Dew is less credible because it is still using the old guard type of branding and messaging principles.
If a brand says “we want to be seen as X,” the correct response from a marketer is “Are you actually X?” or “Then go be X,” because no amount of positioning can swing the needle if you aren’t actually delivering the experience.
Worth a read if you are struggling with how to create a credible brand in a time when there are way, way too many choices.