In the second half of April, Formula 1 was being driven in important locations in the Czech and Slovak Republics. The filming of Redbull’s commercials provoked a number of debates in social media. Especially in the Czech Republic, where six times more users participated in discussions than in Slovakia. While the words of criticism prevailed in the Czech contributions, most Slovaks viewed the shooting positively. That’s according to an analysis by Newton Media.
In the period between 20.4. and 27.4. a total of 3,210 relevant mentions were published about the events, 87 % of which were shared by Czech users. In the Czech environment, the shooting of the commercial provoked contradictory reactions, 52 % of users commented on the event in a negative way, while 48 % viewed it positively. In Slovakia, the discussants were more positive, with almost two-thirds evaluating the shooting positively.
Charles Bridge swirls water again
Although the formula commercial was shot in various locations in the Czech Republic, the scene on Charles Bridge provoked the liveliest discussion. Many users considered formula ride a disgrace of a historical monument while others considered it a great advertisement for Prague. The criticism was directed primarily at the municipality of Prague and at the fact that the filming of this character was allowed at all, without considering the possible consequences. The political subtext of the municipality’s criticism was felt from the discussions.
“The contributions stated that the weight, speed, vibration and noise of the car can affect the statics of the bridge and its surrounding sculptures,” says analyst Nikola Kopáčová from Newton Media, adding: “And other users, on the contrary, refuted these arguments by claiming that trams, buses and even cars had been crossing Charles Bridge in history, so it is not possible for its construction to be disrupted by the crossing of a formula.”
Another topic discussed was the amount of money that the Prague municipality received for the lease of Charles Bridge. According to some users, the city favours international companies such as Redbull over ordinary citizens who cannot even ride a bike on a bridge. The counterargument was the claim that the city will use the money for the necessary repairs of the bridge and Redbull’s video will serve as a great promotion of Prague, for which it does not have to spend taxpayers´ money. The placement of Formula 1 on Charles Bridge has reopened recent events associated with this place with considerable symbolism. Users were reminded of a happening of youtuber Mike Pan, or a half-mile table feast on the bridge or its spraying in the summer of 2019. There were also several comments that controversial video maker Kazma was behind the filming or that he himself was behind the wheel of the formula.
Czechs versus Slovaks
The majority of Slovak users received the shooting of the commercial positively (64 %), most often commenting that it was a great promotion of Slovakia. Many users stated that they were looking forward to the final spot and shots from Slovak locations. “While Czech users were afraid that the formula would disrupt the surface of Prague’s roads, Slovaks were worried about damaging the formula chassis with a bad road,” says Newton Media analyst Martina Maňhalová. According to them, Mlynská niva street was the only place in Bratislava where the surface is in good condition. They also considered the shooting time at Friday’s peak, when it was unsuitable due to traffic jams forming because of to traffic closures.
Czech users were more critical than Slovaks, but some of the users‘ claims were the same in both countries. Czechs and Slovaks would welcome if the filming was announced in advance, as many expressed regrets at not participating, according to them it would be an interesting show for families. For others, on the other hand, the timing of shooting was inappropriate due to the pandemic situation. Whatever the opinions of users, the resulting controversy increased awareness of the Redbull brand and enticed users to watch the upcoming commercial.
The analysis is based on social media data in the period 20. 4.-27.4.2021. The tonality assessment was made on the basis of a 20% sample of the total number of evaluative contributions in each country.
Author of the analysis: Martina Maňhalová, Nikola Kopáčová
Photo source: Red Bull