Corporates vie for attention by throwing themselves down hill

Over 80,000 people flocked to the Domain in Auckland to watch 40 teams from around New Zealand compete in the fourth instalment of the Red Bull Trolley Grand Prix.

  • Check out some pics of the event here. And all the best crashes here

While the event was largely about adrenaline-pumping thrill rides down a meandering hill, speed wasn’t the only consideration that determined the overall winner. The judging was split into three criteria: showmanship, creativity and race speed. Every team had to perform an entry skit before taking the plunge down the hill, and judges gave scores based on how creative they thought the team’s approach was. All entrants embraced this format, and several corporates were particularly enthusiastic, taking it as an opportunity to show off their ingenuity.

Four Square, Memphis Meltdown and Freedom Farms all got in on the action, and their entries went down as three of the most memorable for the day.

Memphis Meltdown continued its foray into all things ridiculous by having its pit crew perform an elaborate dance in Storm Trooper costumes to introduce their trolley. Once the vehicle was revealed, the insanity was taken a step further because a series of real ice creams served as faux pistons. The elaborateness of the entry led comedic hosts for the TV broadcast, Jono and Ben, to quip, “That’s what you get with the Tip Top corporate dollar.”

In contrast to the to the Memphis Meltdown madness, Four Square went for a more traditional approach with a Formula One-themed vehicle. Over the last few weeks, the Four Square Facebook page has been updated regularly with step-by-step posts of the building process, and the company even dedicated a website to the team. 


Freedom Farms, whose entry ‘Cook Me Some Eggs’ finished second in the event, was the top performer in the corporate category. Rather than going for an aerodynamic approach, Freedom Farms opted to send a giant frying pan down the track. Their farm-themed introductory skit, which included the hatching of a driver, was a huge hit among the panel of judges.

The willingness of companies to associate with the event is largely because the marketers at Red Bull have been so successful at establishing the energy drink’s ‘cool’ factor. Over the last few years, Red Bull has become the poster-child for extreme sports by affiliating itself with big wave surfing, motocross and skydiving from atmospheric fringes (Peugeot approached it earlier this year to create a television commercial for the release of the Puegeot 208 GTI starring one of its sponsored BMX riders), and, while it’s mostly a drinks company, events like this and the content it creates from it shows that it’s increasingly becoming a media company. 

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