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Skydiver’s space jump pays off for Red Bull

Even by the standards of extreme sports, Felix Baumgartner’s skydive from the edge of space was an extreme success not just for his team but for sponsor Red Bull’s global marketing.

The brand that virtually created the now-crowded energy-drink market reaped incalculable worldwide publicity with Baumgartner’s successful parachute jump Sunday from a capsule suspended beneath a helium-filled balloon at the edge of space, 24 miles above Roswell, N.M.

The jump was carried live by television outlets around the world, and more than 8 million people saw the live video on YouTube with stunning images from robot cameras aloft with the capsule.

Steven Addis, chief executive of Addis Creson, a brand strategy company based in Berkeley, Calif., says the Red Bull Stratos project was a high-risk, high-reward marketing event that will pay off long-term helping the brand stand out as unique in a marketplace filled with a sea of competitors.

“It’s a very smart move because it’s such a singular event,” Addis says. “If the logo is buried in a sea of logos on a NASCAR car, you’re completely diluted by all the others.”

“To be able to own a singular event like that is pretty compelling,” he says. “The fact that he succeeded was tremendous for the brand.”

Sarah Anderson, spokeswoman for the Red Bull Stratos team, said Monday that Red Bull would not comment on its marketing achievement or reveal how much it has spent on the project. “We don’t share any information on that end,” she said.

The company’s website shows how much time Red Bull devoted to the event: Talks began in 2005, and development of the equipment began in 2007.

Baumgartner has deep experience with extreme daredevil stunts under the Austria-based energy drink brand and its slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings.”

He has parachuted off some of the world’s tallest buildings, including an unauthorized leap in 2007 off the landmark Taipei 101 building, which claimed at the time to be the world’s tallest building.

It’s the last such jump the 43-year-old Austrian skydiver, helicopter pilot and stunt coordinator lists on his website, before he began focusing on the record-breaking skydive.

Baumgartner reached a speed of Mach 1.24, or 833.9 mph, according to preliminary data, and became the first person to go faster than the speed of sound without traveling in a jet or a spacecraft. The capsule he jumped from had reached an altitude of 128,100 feet above Earth.

Baumgartner suggested after the jump that he was ready to move on. He said he plans to settle down and fly helicopters on rescue and firefighting missions in the USA and Austria. But first he planned “to chill out for a few days.”

Addis suggests that he move fast if he plans to cash in on his new fame. 
”It’s going to be hard for him to beat that one,” he says. “I would suggest he capitalize on it now, because I think it’s going to fade.”

Red Bull had strong worldwide brand recognition even before the jump through its ownership of a team in Formula One racing — followed far more closely around the world than in the United States — and extreme sport sponsorships. Its events, like the Stratos jump, mesh with its branding position, which touts not the drink’s taste but the power it delivers consumers.

Addis says it’s impossible to put a dollar figure on what Red Bull has reaped in publicity from the jump.

“This is about brand differentiation,” he says. “That’s something that is a long-term. … This is one more thing in their (marketing) arsenal.”

Original article can be found here.

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