A few ago weeks, Mona Talih, Lara Talih and Shaden Fakih were just three typical distracted students. Then, a spur of the moment decision started them down the path to trading cans of energy drink for anything and everything in a desperate race to get across Europe.
That decision was to submit a video with the hope of being selected for the Red Bull Can You Make It ’14 Challenge. The Challenge asks teams of three to traverse across Europe doing tasks over the course of a week. The more tasks you do and locations you visit, the better. The only catch, however, is that you cannot buy anything along the way – the only currency you can use is a crate of Red Bulls each team gets. So, whether you want to catch a flight, buy a train ticket, or sleep in a hotel, contestants have to barter.
It wasn’t until four days before the deadline that they decided to start shooting their video. The girls sat together at the American University of Beirut, brainstorming ideas. The next day they went up to Shouf mountains with some of their friends to start filming, with the entire video shot in different locations over a day and a half.
The girls’ challenge got off to a strong start. Mona’s charm, Lara’s brains and Shaden’s eccentricities made for the perfect mix, as the HitchHike Girls were selected by a panel of Red Bull judges to represent Lebanon (the only team from the Middle East) as one of 100 international teams in the challenge. While pretty confident their application video was strong, the three were thrilled to be selected.
Next up was getting ready for the challenge. They spent days researching, mapping out possible routes and learning about Europe. Between team the girls were fluent in Arabic, English, French and Spanish – so they were confident language would not be a barrier. They called up friends who were into camping, asking for gear and advice, while they also enjoyed the spotlight – making an appearance on one of Lebanon’s top radio stations.
To succeed in their task, the girls needed to make it to Berlin by tomorrow. Yesterday they tweeted that they arrived early, and are frantically working to complete as many tasks as possible before the deadline. Starting out in Vienna, they traversed five countries, including the UK.
Lebanon has been following their activities closely via their page on the Red Bull website. While second overall earlier in the week, they have fallen back somewhat. Nevertheless, the team from a small country is making a big splash on the international stage.
And for Red Bull, it is clearly another advertising success. Following the amazingly branded Stratos outerspace jump in October 2012, the company is back with another campaign built on bravery – or, from another perspective – crazy things youth will do if they’re given a limitless supply of energy drinks.
They have successfully understood what the youth are looking for, the adventure and the experience, and have integrated that brilliantly with their brand. Red Bull are venturing where very few brands dare venture, be it in space or on the streets of Europe – their “no fear” approach has been reaping dividends.