Yesterday Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier with a 39km freefall from the edge of space. As he did it, Red Bull became the first brand to break the traditional barriers of marketing and sponsorship by going along for the ride.
It could prove to be one of the best marketing campaigns of all time.
In sponsoring the event Red Bull stepped up from a sponsor of extreme sports to the new standard in innovative marketing endeavours and product promotion. It certainly helps that the event fitted perfectly with the brands slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings.”
The 8 million people to tune in for the live stream of Baumgartner’s jump are just the surface of what promises to be a momentous moment in marketing.
“The sponsorship transcended sports and entertainment into Pop Culture, hitting new consumers that Red Bull does not usually capture, and on a global scale,” says Ben Sturner, CEO of full-service marketing outfit Leverage Agency.
“The value for Red Bull is in the tens of millions of dollars of global exposure, and Red Bull Stratos will continue to be talked about and passed along socially for a very long time.”
That’s because the sponsorship was so prevalent and inextricably linked to the achievement that there’s no way any press could cut them out of coverage. And with a mind blowing human achievement like this, that’s going to be a huge amount of press.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they have a record month of sales. It was the lead story in newscasts, not just sportscasts, and they couldn't have the story without mentioning Red Bull." Sturner says.
"And with the buzz afterward and the engagement online, some of the top people on Twitter with millions of followers spreading the word about Red Bull -- that's something that can't be quantified."
Apart from the YouTube and social coverage, ABC News estimates the jump was also shown by over 40 TV stations and 130 digital news outlets. Red Bull was well and truly planted on the front page of worldwide media.
It’s just the sort of thinking that small businesses need to inject into their marketing endeavours.
"Every brand has an attribute that could potentially be larger than life," Sturner says, "You need something that will transcend. In this day and age, it's about engagement and amplification of the message, and Red Bull accomplished that in both ways."
There’s no reason you can’t too.