Apologies if you came here expecting a story about Elton John. Instead I’m going to look into the story behind Felix Baumgartner’s soon to be record breaking jump from the edge of space, along with the benefits social media brings for his fans and sponsors.
With an estimated one million people tuning in to watch the aborted mission on Tuesday, Felix’s quest to become the first man to break the sound barrier is one of the most talked about topics this week. Jumping from a staggering 120,000 feet (23 miles), the Austrian is aiming to break the 105,000km record set by Joe Kittinger some 52 years ago. Not only that but he’ll shatter the records for the highest and largest manned balloon flight, longest free-fall, highest free-fall altitude and, as mentioned earlier, the first man to break the speed of sound in free-fall.
The task at hand isn’t something which has come together overnight. The mission is the accumulation of seven years planning, not five years, as some sites are stating. Joe Kittinger, the current record holder, is also on-board, despite refusing to help any previous record attempts by other individuals. This is reportedly down to Felix’s ambition and dedication, something outlined in his previous jumps around the world.
Perhaps this is what made him so appealing to sponsors…
Although a number of sponsors are involved, Red Bull is at the forefront of the mission, and we couldn’t think of a better partner. Synonymous with sponsorship of extreme sports, Red Bull’s strapline ‘Gives You Wings’ couldn’t be more fitting for the jump.
Red Bull claims it wants to have a part in “building better space suits and parachutes, to the development of protocols for exposure to high altitude/high acceleration”. When the jump goes ahead, which is now scheduled for Sunday at the earliest, Felix will have brought invaluable results which could be used in space travel for years to come. Not only that, but the media attention is has attracted is huge.
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Brandwatch, strategic account manager Jim Reynolds reported that in the hour leading up to the launch 21.5k tweets were posted. Since then we’ve received some fascinating stats to show that this was in fact 31k during the hour he was set to launch, with just short of 80k references on Tuesday 9 th October. That’s a lot of chatter for an aborted mission, something which Red Bull will no doubt already be benefiting from.
Already a leader on social, Red Bull has been making use of all possible channels to promote the mission. Aside from the
Red Bull Facebook page, which has over 32m fans, its Red Bull Stratos page grew from 210k fans to 350k fans over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday. As well as containing a live streaming tab, it does what Red Bull does best, taking users on a visual journey to bring fans closer to the action. This is replicated on Instagram, a platform where Red Bull has attracted more than 416k followers. The brand has asked fans to provide their own content around the mission, using the #stratos hashtag. The search already contains more than 4000 photos.
Its standalone site,
Red Bull Stratos, has social at its core, with a Facebook event set-up for the mission, alongside social links and a blog. Its ‘How to Watch Live’ section outlines the numerous platforms broadcasting the mission, including YouTube channels and regional news sites. Twitter has also been key to the process, with @RedBullStratos updating more than 132k followers in real time.
What does Red Bull’s involvement really mean beyond the mission though?
Of course Red Bull has a large interest in the mission and air travel, but the coverage from Felix’s jump could be pivotal to the brand's growth over the next few years. On Monday 8
th October, coinciding with the week Felix was set to jump, Red Bull announced its latest venture: flavours. This isn’t something new in the market - competitors Monster and Rock Star have sold flavoured energy drinks for a while now - but it is a step that Red Bull must take to remain the industry leader. As USA Today reported, Mintel projects that the energy drink category will grow 86% to nearly $12bn within five years. In the US, Red Bull leads Monster by just 7% (42% share to 35% share), with a 16% growth in the market in the last year alone.
The market is huge, and although it has been seven years in the making, this is one sponsorship which could pay massive dividends for Red Bull’s marketing team. I’m already a fan of the Red Bull Stratos Facebook page, and a follower on Twitter, so when the day comes, I know I’ll be glued to my screen watching Felix Baumgartner make history, backed by an energy drink brand which will truly be able to claim it gives you wings.
From Insight Executive Mark @MisterMumble @yomegosocial