Taking its tagline ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ to the (il)logical extreme, the energy drink manufacturer is funding an out-of-this-world extreme skydive and streaming online an attempt to break the speed of sound by freefall.
The Red Bull Stratos mission will see skydiver Felix Baumgartner rising to an incredible 120,000 feet (approx 23 miles) above the Earth in a stratospheric balloon. Once on the edge of space, Baumgartner will freefall back to land and attempt to break the speed of sound as he does so – a feat never before accomplished – and then turn his supersonic attempt into a parachute jump.
Red Bull Media House partnered with YouTube to live-stream the event, allowing people to view Baumgartner’s descent either on the Stratos mission website, YouTube or the Red Bull Facebook page. In order to create this high-altitude coverage, the brand also collaborated with Riedel Communications, FlightLine Films and 3G Communications, to build a flying production studio complete with over 35 moving and still image cameras, two ground-based optical tracking systems, and three POV cameras on Baumgartner’s body.
Over on the Stratos Mission website, Red Bull has provided a wealth of information about the science, the tech and the team behind the jump.
Contagious Insight /
The advent of branded content has sadly resulted in many brands creating sub-standard, TV-like content – effectively little more than grossly extended TV ads. This misses a huge opportunity to connect with audiences that might be underserved by traditional entertainment offerings. The fact that entertainment is the most funded category on Kickstarter would demonstrate that neither broadcasters nor brands have managed to find these audiences nor, in the case of brands, resist their natural urges to make overly-long online commercials.
In contrast, the Stratos mission is set to provide genuinely thrilling online content that will not only attract an audience but also inevitably garner plenty of earned media in the process (a man falling from space at supersonic speeds is a shoo-in for a slot on any news show). Beyond the fall itself, Red Bull has also provided a wealth of supporting content and info for those people wishing to get more deeply involved with the project.
Earlier this year, Google’s VP of TV and Entertainment Robert Kyncl outlined where he thought the future of online content was heading, saying ‘People went from broad to narrow [in terms of the type of content they watch], and we think they will continue to go that way – spend more and more time in the niches.’
The advice is therefore reasonably clear – make content people want to watch and can’t find anywhere else, or prepare to be ignored.