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High risk, high rewards

Felix Baumgartner (and Red Bull) put the extreme into content marketing

As The Message foreshadowed almost three weeks ago, Felix Baumgartner is all over the news at the minute as a result of successfully completing his death-defying, speed of sound-breaking jump/freefall from the ‘edge of space’.

Among the records Baumgartner broke was the highest ever jump (39,044 metres) and fastest speed reached by a man without any form of mechanical assistance (1341.97km/h), as well as achieving the second longest ever freefall (four minutes, 20 seconds).

Of more interest to content marketers was the coverage the jump – and hence Baumgartner’s sponsor Red Bull – received. According to organisers, 40 television stations in 50 countries carried the live feed. More significantly, people flocked to social media to witness the event, with YouTube reporting that the jump received over eight million simultaneous views – a new record. On Twitter, meanwhile, over half of all trending topics worldwide related to the jump.

As the online world watched Baumgartner spin violently out of control, Red Bull’s marketers were doubtless working out how much the exposure was worth. Although the energy drink maker has never said how much the whole endeavour cost, chances are it will be well worth it.

Of course, there is no reward without risk. And as the footage (along with fearless Felix’s comments that he was terrified) shows, the slightest error or malfunction would almost certainly have resulted in Baumgartner’s death. And you have to wonder what that would have done for the Red Bull brand.

Happily, though, disaster was avoided – and since this whole episode played out in full on social media, it seems appropriate that social media (in the words of a YouTube comment) should sum it all up:

‘Due to the enormous gravitational field his massive balls create, it was recently discovered that he did not in fact fall towards the earth, but the earth fell towards him.’

 

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