Red Bull’s Stratos Space Jump
BBA 2026: Organizational Communication
YouTube was launched in 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. Today YouTube is one of the biggest and most visited websites in the history of the internet. The three of them realized, while working for PayPal, that there was not one centralized location for videos to be shared and watched. That is how YouTube started. With an $11.5 million investment, from Sequoia Capital, the domain name was created, and the headquarters building was located above a pizzeria in California. Once videos were starting to be published, Nike Air was the first to hit the million-view mark. “By the time Google paid $1.65 billion in stock for the company in the fall of 2006, the site boasted more than 700 million views a week. Today more video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than all three U.S. television networks have created in 60 years” (Fitzpatrick, 2010). Google really transformed the overall functionality and appearance of the platform. One of the major campaigns that have ran through YouTube, through a live stream, was the Stratos Space Jump campaign from Red Bull. With the campaign, Red Bull managed to rebrand and put their name out further than before, a rise in product sales increased, and there were things that they could have done better.
With the campaign, a man named Felix Baumgartner was the first man to free fall jump from space. The article stated, “The jump broke five records, according to officials at Guinness World Records, and Mr. Baumgartner became the first human to break the sound barrier without engine power” (Zmuda, 2013). This was a major feat for him and the company. This allowed Red Bull to better market their name and blast it across multiple platforms. The article states, “Social media in recent years is a natural evolution of our strategy and has amplified our engagement.” (Zmuda, 2013). The thought they had about the even was to spread this worldwide and get as many eyes on the company and the campaign as possible. So, according to Zmuda, “Mr. Baumgartner’s feat captured consumers’ attention the world over. TV stations, news reports and journalists all referred to the event as “Red Bull Stratos” rather than shortening it to simply “Stratos,” as is so often done with branded events. The event was carried on nearly 80 TV stations in 50 countries. The live webcast was distributed through 280 digital partners and racked up 52 million views, making it the most-watched live stream in history” (Zmuda, 2013). This was HUGE for the company. Red Bull took this from an idea, to a worldwide interest in a matter of days. There is no better way of spreading a name than using modern approaches to advertise your company. Red Bull realized that social media was a way to quickly advertise themselves, while making history. Now that they have eyes on them and people looking into the Red Bull brand, now they can advertise new product and sell more material.
According to the article, “Stratos undoubtedly raised Red Bull’s profile as the brand looks to expand in core markets like Western Europe and the U.S., as well as newer targets such as Brazil, Japan, India and South Korea” (Zmuda, 2013). The stunt opened the doors to expand their company to big countries that their product could benefit in. This stunt that was advertised across the globe did just that. In just six months after Mr. Baumgartner jumped from space, Red Bull sales rose 7 percent, selling $1.6 Billion in the United States. This is huge. In such a fast time, the company showed its benefits. The article also stated, “According to the private company, it sold 5.2 billion cans worldwide last year, a 13% increase over the year prior. In the U.S., sales jumped 17%, while markets as varied as South Africa, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France and Germany also saw double-digit sales gains.” (Zmuda, 2013). With the amount of money put into the campaign, they made it back in product sales and even opening brands in new countries. This was a very successful campaign for Red Bull as well as YouTube.
Even with the successful campaign, there could have been other improvements made to make it more successful. To me, the amount of money needed to send Mr. Baumgartner into space could not have been cheap. With the space training, flight suit, capsule that he jumped from, Helium balloon used to get him there, etc., the company had to have a major financial setback that they were not guaranteed to get back in sales. If I was a PR, I would have come up with a different way to advertise the company through social media. And if I went with the same plan and went through with it, I would have live streamed it throughout the world on all the major platforms. Then this happened, I remember watching it on YouTube, and advertisements were only on Facebook and twitter as a status and video feed after the campaign was completed. Facebook has a live option that should have been utilized since there are millions of people actively scrolling their feed. Another thing that the campaign may have done better is their future campaigns have to be just as intriguing in order to stay relevant. Another article states, “Consumers are increasingly demanding that brands prove their worth, a shift that has huge implications for marketers.” (Kemp, 2012). People are more concerned with a company now having to prove to people that they should buy their products. Not just for the taste or the value of that it helps them with, but though extreme events that will make them want to spend their money on the brand.
The Stratos Campaign was a huge success, even with this being an experimental marketing strategy. When Felix Baumgartner went 23 miles from the earths surface, sporting the Red Bull suit, and breaking the sound barrier, it changed the brand forever. They became a worldwide phenomenon and had a huge boost in sales. But at what cost overall. Things like this, extreme stunt advertising, is taking away what the brand needs to be. Now, we will not buy certain brands because the commercial wasn’t as good, or the stunt was a little over the top and financially a high price. I would think why I would help brand this product, just for them to use my money and send someone to space to skydive for 30 seconds. Why can’t they just use the money and better product, or develop new products, or donate back to the community. Those are just my opinions on the stunt itself, but from a PR Campaign strategy, it was genius. They created more business opportunities in different countries, as well as sold billions worth of product after just days from the stunt. Red Bull set the standard for new marketing strategies worldwide.
Fitzpartick, Laura. (2010). Brief History YouTube. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1990787,00.html
Kemp, Nicola. (2012). Six Marketing Lessons from Red Bull Stratos. Campaign. Retrieved from https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/six-marketing-lessons-red-bull-stratos/1155718
Zmuda, Natalie. (2013). Red Bull’s Stratos’ Space Jump Wowed the World—While Selling A lot of Product. Ad Age. Retrieved from https://adage.com/article/special-report-marketer-alist-2013/red-bull-stratos-space-jump-helped-sell-a-lot-product/243751