Felix Baumgartner Jump a Success

It seems like every year people push the limits of what they can accomplish. Thousands of people compete on a yearly basis to top records in the Guinness Book of World Records. Record-setters fund themselves through their own money, sponsorships, websites and other methods. Lately, there has been a trend of corporate sponsorship of record-setting or record-breaking attempts. Sponsors get their name in publicity and are seen as doing a cool thing. The record-setter gets to focus on his attempt instead of worrying about money. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Speaking of win-win sponsorships, Redbull is well known for sponsoring crazy stunts and events. The energy drink company is no stranger to this sort of marketing, but they may have just set the record for the coolest, most unbelievable record-setting event, ever. No, I’m not exaggerating.

Jump­—You’re Only 24 Miles High

Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian daredevil, jumped from a balloon that had carried him 128,100 feet into the air yesterday. I can’t even imagine that height; it’s just unreal. According to MSNBC, Felix broke “as many as three world records” and “his body pierced the atmosphere at speeds topping 700 miles per hour.”

That means Felix Baumgartner became the first human being to break the sound barrier on his own. In the history of humanity, nothing like this has been done to such an extreme level. I think it’s really quite amazing.

YouTube Record Broken

What, might you ask, does a story like this have to do with online marketing? A lot, actually. The numbers prove it too. Mashable is reporting that Felix’s jump “broke a record for the ‘live stream with the most concurrent views ever on YouTube.’” Over 8 million people tuned in for the live stream. Imagine how many more people will tune in as news spreads of this unbelievable stunt.

If you missed the live stream of the jump and want to catch a glimpse, there are videos all over the internet. A good place to find the best videos of the event is on the NYT Blog page.

This sort of Marketing Pays off

Is it really worth it for Redbull and other companies to sponsor crazy stunts like this? When it’s done right, yes, it is worth it. In a Forbes article covering the impact of the Red Bull Stratos jump, Ben Sturner, President/CEO of Leverage Agency stated, “The sponsorship transcended sports and entertainment into Pop Culture.”

This means that Red Bull was able to reach people that normally are never exposed to the brand or its products. Using the internet to publicize the stunt, Red Bull was able to rely on social media to spread awareness of the stunt like wildfire. It’s not like the event will stop the exposure either. YouTube and other outlets will have videos of the jump available for a very long time, and as more people hear about the jump, they will undoubtedly watch the video.

Ben Sturner also commented in the Forbes article: “The value for Red Bull is in the tens of millions of dollars of global exposure.” This sort of stunt likely cost a fraction of a percent of that. Talk about good returns on your marketing!

What We Can Learn From This

You don’t have to be a huge multi-national company to take advantage of marketing like this. You can scale events like this to your budget. You just need to be a little more creative as to how a certain stunt or event that a small or local business could sponsor would reach people locally or regionally, and on the internet. There are ways to do this and if done right, as the Red Bull Stratos shows, the payoff can be hundreds of times greater than the expenses.

What do you think of the Red Bull Stratos jump? Do you know of other crazy stunts that companies have sponsored?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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