Red Bull Jumps Off YouTube: Will Other Marketers Take A Plunge?

Jumping up on some big digital numbers, YouTube had 52 million views for Felix Baumgartners big 24-mile parachute jump -- a record drop. More importantly, YouTube had 8 million "concurrent" live views.

That blows away the number of some 500,000 live YouTube viewers for this past summer's London Olympic games or -- also from the U.K. -- Kate Middleton's marriage to British royalty.

Discovery Channel was in on the action. Actually getting somewhat less raw numbers than YouTube, Discovery drew 7.6 million total viewers, and its presentation of the jump averaged 4.21 million total viewers. All this became the highest-rated non-prime-time program in Discovery's history.



Where's the better marketing value? Does it matter? For those of you who only casually heard about this effort, the jump was called the Red Bull Stratus Mission.  Virtually the entire effort was a big marketing push by the Austrian-based energy drink company -- complete with lots of Red Bull on-air signage.

The reported cost: $65 million, a rather expensive effort. For that much money you could buy a top-level year-long marketing partnership on "American Idol" (when it was somewhat of a bigger deal that it is today).

But this wasn't just a U.S. thing, with some 40 TV networks in 50 countries and some 130 digital outlets participating. Not only that, but Red Bull would reason that pre-and post-jump coverage has in fact extended its association with this effort. Red Bull has made it an overall marketing strategy to be well-associated with extreme sports/action sports over the last few years.

From the wildly successful YouTube point of view, the fact that viewers could easily access the jump while at work or on the go during their day made instant media sense. And after all, what U.S. shows on daytime TV get 8 million... of anything? The answer is zero. Not only that but reports suggest the 52 million number more than equals the total of the top 35 YouTube channels.

Is that what other marketers need to do? To get this kind of brand association, should many look to create big, unique live events as well -- with hopefully very long tails?

Well, yes. But what about ROI? Hmmm... better just take the big leap and hope for a safe landing.

6 comments about "Red Bull Jumps Off YouTube: Will Other Marketers Take A Plunge?".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, October 17, 2012 at 5:50 p.m.

    It's striking to me that this is a one time and very unusual event. There won't be anything else like this for another decade. Hence these are sweet numbers for Red Bull. But although YouTube wants to use it to "prove" their value once and for's a one off...and their viewership was driven by offline media coverage. So we should be very careful not to make too much of these numbers. Even Discovery noted how far out of line their viewership was...

  2. Chuck Lantz from, network, October 17, 2012 at 5:59 p.m.

    How many of those 52 million views include drops and reloads? Without knowing that number, which cannot be easily quantified without knowing how much bandwidth was available throughout the webcast, that "52 million" could shrink considerably into X number of uniques. - As far as Red Bull's spend goes, 65 million is almost a drop in the bucket when compared to their action sports spending. Their people are told to practically burn money.

  3. Joseph Dalton from Bang, October 18, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.

    Great Post Wayne.

    You could argue that the whole event was akin to a "live commercial" and as such it allowed viewers to get more involved / engaged with it. Also, the event is a very appropriate fit into Red Bull's core communication message that "It gives you wings"


  4. Katherine Krieger from Brand Connections, October 18, 2012 at 7:36 a.m.

    I don't think other marketers will jump on this "bandwagon." Redbull has been turning themselves into a content/publishing company for many years and this move made sense for them and it paid off. To think that other brand could jump in with some sort of big event and have it work like this is missing out on the year's of work that led up to this.

  5. Brett Stern from Longboard Marketing, October 18, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.

    Red Bull does a better job than most in staying true to their brand. This event was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities and while the cost was definitely off the charts from a ROI standpoint, it shouldn't be viewed as just an expensive marketing stunt that needs to be measured traditionally. Something doesn't have to be expensive to be authentic, so I can see other companies/brands using this as a really good example of how great content will always win out.

  6. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 18, 2012 at 10:46 a.m.

    Can you imagine if a pharmaceutical company sponsored this or condom manufacturer ? Are kids going to load up on Red Bull and jump off bridges ? As my grandmother used to say, "Bis mashiga".

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