And the Nomination Goes To…..

This week’s Social Media class assignment tasked us with nominating a social media campaign which deserves a “Best of Social Media” award. My nomination?

Red Bull Stratos – “Mission To The Edge of Space”

On October 14, 2012 the world witnessed Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, being lifted by a helium balloon 24 miles into the stratosphere.  Upon reaching the desired altitude, Baumgartner climbed out of the capsule, said a few words, and began his free-fall and parachute toward earth.

The results of this leap couldn’t be predicted, Felix would live (or die) while the world watched.  In the end, Baumgartner lived, and according to the Red Bull website, he “broke several records including:

  • First human to break the speed of sound in freefall with a top speed of 843.6 mph or Mach 1.25
  • Highest freefall from a distance of 127,852 feet
  • Longest-distance freefall “

Marketers Perspective and Insights

Red Bull, maker of the highest selling energy drink in the world, sponsored this extreme and very successful event.  Red Bull’s target audience is young males 16 to 30 years of age who enjoy living life “on the edge.”  Their audience enjoys extremes, whether it is extreme competition, extreme sports, or extreme gaming.

From a social media perspective, the campaign was a huge success both scientifically and from a brand marketing perspective.  A few stats from the Dachis Group (now Sprinklr) report:

  • According to a report posted on October 23, 2012 on there were over 1 million unique consumer actions which occurred on the day of the jump.
  • Two million (yes, 2,000,000!) new accounts subscribed for Red Bull updates due to Stratos.
  • Consumer engagement experienced a 400% jump in the length of time consumers engaged with the brand. Consumers weren’t just “liking”, “pinning”, or “tweeting“, they were watching…for a long time in today’s world of short attention spans.
  • There were 50,000 distinct links shared regarding the Stratos event.
  • 61,634,000 impressions were generated across social channels.
    Fact 6: image from post

    Fact 6: image from post

    For more great reading on the success of this campaign, click here!

Personal Thoughts and Perspective

I must admit that in October 2012, I was quite unaware of the impact and scope of the event.  And of the power of social media, for that fact.

Although I am far from Red Bull’s target market, I stopped in my tracks that day and watched every minute of this event, from balloon inflation to post-jump interviews.

I was engrossed and totally engaged with this brand for more time than I’d like to admit.  Somehow, this campaign broke through my thick wall of media tolerance with “hooks” like these:

  • the fact that this event was being held 65 years to the day when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the first time in a piloted aircraft
  • the story of Felix and Joseph Kittinger II working together to break the record for highest altitude jump.  The record was (and still is) held by Kittinger who was Baumgartner’s mentor and mission control primary contact during the jump
  • the fact that I’d had my very first (tandem) skydive two months prior to this event

And yes, in case you were wondering, I cried at the end.

The Red Bull brand certainly made an impression on me that day…and earned this nomination!

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