Hands up; who watched Felix Baumgarten’s jump last week? We did and it was pretty amazing, though we got a bit panicked when he started to spin and were just a little bit impressed when he landed on his feet. The Red Bull Stratos event saw Austrian Felix jump from a specially designed balloon from 24 miles up. During the decent he became the first human to go faster than the speed of sound without using a machine and shattered the highest ever free-fall record. The project was fascinating for its scientific achievements as summarised brilliantly by someone on Twitter, “That awkward moment when you realise an energy drink has a better space programme than your nation.” But it was also significant for marketing. The jump was streamed in real time on a Red Bull branded YouTube channel. It was watched by 8 million people and wasn’t available on terrestrial channels in the UK.
This is a real validation of YouTube as a serious broadcaster and brought it a new audience of people who wouldn’t normally consider it for anything other than watching clips. It was a great example of innovative content generation. People want to be part of a brand and share experiences with them; by watching it live on YouTube, interacting on social media channels and of course discussing it at length with friends and colleagues afterwards Red Bull ensured that their customers were fully engaged and felt ownership with the event. The name Red Bull was synonymous with the whole project and not just a logo on a shirt. It created masses of content and was the lead story on worldwide national news programmes. Red Bull with their core message of “Red Bull gives you wings” are leaders in creating sports and events rather than just buying into them. The question is now, Does Red Bull’s marketing exist to promote the drink sales or do the drink sales help pay for the sports and events? We think it shows a turning point in how marketing and content generation is done and highlights that it really isn’t about buying advertising space any more. Though it has been done before; we bet you didn’t know that the Tour de France started out as a promotion for a French newspaper?