The Lesson Red Bull has taught us from Baumgartner’s Jump from the Edge of Space.
If someone walked into the office of your CMO with the proposal to get more coverage than any global media campaign that they have executed in the past and for less the money than they have spent previously then I am sure their eyes would light up with excitement. The only catch in this case is they need to sponsor a guy who is going to jump from a balloon at the edge of the earth’s atmosphere. It would be about now the CMO would entertain the thought of getting involved in experiential marketing for a minute and in that minute they would be wishing that the brand for which they worked had the courage to invest in this opportunity, the outcome of course is they know that this type of activity is not the right fit for the brand so they will have to decline the offer.
The truth is they are right, this activity would not be the right fit for the brand as the organisation has not developed a long term strategy where investing in this type of stunt has become part of the brands DNA. Unlike Red Bull, for years they have invested in the extreme and they know how to get it right as Felix Baumgartner jump was truly impressive, not only due to the amazing footage of the balloon, the leap from the capsule where in the background the curvature of the earth can be clearly seen or the footage of the free fall but also from the media coverage that this event has received. Initial reports indicate that for every dollar invested they have received at least $50 in media or coverage worth at least $100 million to the brand.
Red Bull created content that people wanted to talk about, and if talking about Baumgartner’s jump was not enough they even had a great back story with the involvement of Joseph Kittinger, the ex Air Force Colonial whose free fall record Baumgartner was trying to break, as a key member of the support team and whose story was as impressive as Baumgartner’s. So if working on your brands content strategy seems a little boring as a result, just take comfort in knowing that the lesson that Red Bull has taught us from this is that an investment in a long term content strategy, no matter what that may be, means that we all will be better prepared to take advantage of the next opportunity that will be relevant to our brand.