Red Bull space jump

Big risk, big reward: Felix Baumgartner and Red Bull deserve all the marketing buzz they get

Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space on Sunday drew more than eight million concurrent YouTube viewers and hundreds of thousands of Facebook likes and accounted for half of all global trending topics on Twitter. “Will the stunt sell more Red Bull? You, bet it will. And it’ll keep people talking for a long time to come… [Click pic to enlarge]

Notes this commentary by Forbes:

Ask an ad guy: In this cynical, media-soaked age it’s tough to get anyone’s attention anymore. What it takes to really break through: authenticity. Brands telling their own stories, friends recommending what to buy, and on and on. That’s what’s hot.

Blame it on the media business, blame it on three generations reared on blanketed advertising, but that’s what’s left, increasingly. We’ve so supersaturated the world with messaging–from blinking banner ads to cookie cutter car spots to covering every surface of at least New York City with someone trying to sell us something–that almost nothing sticks anymore. You’ve got to be totally clueless to see why people are turned off by all this. In the apex of the age of consumerism, we’re just drowning in pitches to buy.

Then comes today, with Red Bull. Yeah, as one friend just said to me, “I thought it was just some stunt,” — and it was. But what a stunt. Jumping from a balloon in near-space to fall more than 23 miles while breaking the sound barrier, risking his life, setting records, Heroic Stuff! The Right Stuff! And all brought to you by Red Bull.

In this new age of attempted authenticity they just absolutely killed it by being absolutely, totally, truly, over-the-top authentic. They backed a guy in an insanely risky, old-school kind of venture that was elegantly simple in its principles (go higher than anyone else, jump, live) yet so hair-raisingly sophisticated in its execution (pressure suit, capsule, hours of countdown, etc.) that it grabbed the world’s attention and kept a good part of it on pins and needles for a week, and talking about their brand. Why’d we watch, why’d we care? ‘Cause it was, in the words of Van Morrisson circa 1971, really, really, really, real (Lord have mercy).

You can’t tell immediately how many views this live stream of the jump on their site pulled in, but over on the YouTube live stream, at the peak of coverage, there were 8 million concurrent viewers from around the world watching. The walkup videos in the months ahead of today pulled in more than 5 million views, and got shared, of course, like crazy. Red Bull hasn’t said what all this cost, and it couldn’t have been cheap…..

Forbes: Read more