Back in 1984, Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz and Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya created the company Red Bull GmbH. The company’s product was inspired by the Thai energy drink Krating Daeng (Red Bull in English). The energy drink’s superpowers (high performance, increased power and reflex response time) became the focal point of the brand.
During the following years Red Bull became something more than an energy drink, it became part of everyday life. The slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” was now synonymous of activities that required high performance. Red Bull became the protagonist sponsor for sports and extreme sports such as: football, Soapbox racing, rallycross, motocross, MTB, ice hockey, ice cross downhill, skiing, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, freefall, air race, and F1 racing. The Red Bull logo was constantly accompanying the most exciting moments of extreme sports.
Suddenly, on Sunday the 14th of October 2012 Red Bull Stratos mission dominated the media on planet earth. That day, millions of people across the globe, saw Felix Baumgartner at the edge of space, performing the greatest skydive in human history, reaching a speed of Mach 1.25, managing to surpass the speed of sound “without being an aircraft”, breaking three skydive records and many marketing records. Red Bull used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, +Google, Foursquare, YouTube, their own dedicated website, 280 digital partners and 80 television stations in 50 countries to broadcast Stratos live. According to AdAge, Red Bull made an investment of approximately $73 million in the U.S. on “measured media” (the brand was an early adopter of social media).
Engagement results were stunning! YouTube reported that “at peak” there were “more than 8 million concurrent livestreams” on Red Bull’s YouTube channel (broke the record of London Olympics livestreams by 500 thousand). SBJdaily reported the channel had 350 million views prior to the jump. Generally on social media, there were 22,000 pictures on Instagram, over 1 million likes on a Facebook photo, 820,000 pieces of positive content created, 400% increase over average length of consumer engagement, 50,000 distinct links shared, and 61,634,000 trusted impressions generated across social channels (per-validated-earned media).
The effect on sales was equally spectacular! According to the research firm IRI, sales rose up in the months immediately following Stratos by 7% to $1.6billion in the U.S. while the sales percentage for the year 2012 jumped to 17%. Worldwide, Red Bull sold 5.2billion cans in 2012, a 13% increase over the year prior.
Until Stratos mission, no other brand had managed to achieve such a high volume of audience engagement during a single event. The impact of this campaign not only changed the traditional content and marketing landscape but also contributed significantly to science. Red Bull redefined everything, including itself.
Ever since Stratos Red Bull became the paradigm of engagement with audience. The exclusive collaboration with GoPro in 2016 boosted engagement to the point of Red Bull being in the 71st position of the Forbes list and a brand value of 9.9 billions in 2018.
I would like to thank Corine Blaire for the Case Study: Red Bull Stratos – Transmedia Marketing Through Storytelling. UCI Extension – Nov. 2013 which I used to collect information about the Stratos marketing campaign.