Photo: Red Bull Stratos Content Pool
High-risk, high-reward.That’s one of the things Red Bull stresses in its marketing message, and that’s why it sponsored Felix Baumgartner in his quest to jump from the edge of space and break the speed of sound.
But his jump was, by far, the biggest risk the Red Bull brand has ever taken.
Red Bull plasters its name across plenty of dangerous events, but there was something fundamentally different about Red Bull Stratos — the program that dropped Baumgartner from way up in the atmosphere.
Red Bull has Formula-1 racecars that charge around a track at 200 mph, an air race that features planes zooming around a city’s waterfront at 200 knots and a cliff diving series that sends humans hurtling down the sides of mountains.
The consequences of even a small mistake in those sports can be deadly.
So what the difference between those events and Baumgartner’s jump?
Unlike the others, Baumgartner’s jump was squarely in the global spotlight, setting a YouTube record with 8 million concurrent views. It was more hyped than anything Red Bull had done before, and the whole world was watching this man plummet from space in a Red Bull-branded suit.
If something bad happened — no matter whose fault it was — everyone would be tearing into Red Bull about the excessive amount of danger involved.
It would have been called a pure PR stunt. It’d be seen as exploiting an ambitious daredevil, even though he was an absolutely willing participant, just for some exposure.
Fortunately for everyone, Baumgartner, the team of scientists and Red Bull succeeded, and we got to see history.
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