Felix Baumgartner went faster than the speed of sound on Sunday. In case you missed this weekend’s historic event, Felix Baumgartner free fell from close to 25 miles into the stratosphere on his way back down to a New Mexican desert. “Fearless Felix” hit a speed of Mach 1.24 (which is roughly 834 mph) during his fall. Sponsored by Red Bull, this spectacular achievement was covered by 130 digital outlets and broke the record for number of viewers for a live event on Youtube, with a staggering 8 million watching.
“Baumgartner’s descent lasted just over nine minutes, about half of it in a free fall of 119,846 feet” said Brian Utley, a jump observer from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. The capsule he jumped from reached an altitude of 128,100 feet above Earth, carried by a 55-story ultra-thin helium balloon. Although he broke the sound barrier, was a part of the highest manned-balloon flight record and became the man to jump from the highest altitude, he did not break Kittinger’s 4 minute and 36 second longest free fall record. Baumgartner’s was timed at 4 minutes and 20 seconds in free fall. His suit was one of the most important aspects to the fall as any contact with the capsule on his exit could have torn his suit, leaving a rip that could expose him to a lack of oxygen and temperatures as low as minus-70 degrees.
While it is arguably the biggest, Felix’s jump is not the first extreme event that Red Bull has sponsored. Most of their sponsorship investments have been in extreme sport and in building long-term relationships with individual athletes – funding an army of base jumpers, free runners, snowboarders, cliff divers and BMX riders for whom they could create bespoke events and completely control the content around.
During the jump and afterwards, half the worldwide trending topics on Twitter related to the Austrian’s historic jump. And, with Red Bull’s endorsement, the jump has also reminded many marketers and people of the power of a publicity stunt. Check out ABC News’ coverage of his free fall here:
Did you watch Fearless Felix this weekend? What do you think of Red Bull’s sponsorship choices?