The experimental marketing campaign that became the world’s most-viewed live stream

Experimental marketing - Red Bull Stratos
Photo credit: The Red Bull Stratos Facebook page

Red Bull Stratos: Experimental marketing like the world had never seen before

Back in October 2012 energy drink company Red Bull broke new ground in the field of experimental marketing. They took it to new frontiers. To the edge of space actually.

Red Bull sponsored Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner in his record attempt to freefall from an altitude of 39 kilometers and then parachuted back to Earth. This ambitious project was named Red Bull Stratos.

Felix Baumgartner took to the skies, or to the edge of space, in a helium-filled balloon and once he had reached his altitude, he lunged himself out, free falling for over 4 minutes at a speed of over 1,300 km/h. At this speed, Felix also became the first free-falling human to break the sound barrier.

“Red Bull Stratos was not an advertising campaign”. 

Red Bull insisted that the Stratos project, also dubbed “the mission to the edge of space,” was not an advertising campaign. “The Red Bull Stratos project was, first and foremost, a scientific mission documented by our broadcast and editorial teams for seven years. Red Bull Stratos was not an advertising campaign,” a Red Bull spokesperson said back then.

The world’s most-viewed live stream

Nevertheless, Stratos was experimental marketing like the world had never seen before. According to, the Red Bull branded attempt was live streamed in 50 countries across 80 TV stations and a large network of digital partners. The live stream racked up a whopping 8 million simultaneous viewers on Youtube and the record attempt was watched live by a total of 52 million viewers through a network of 280 digital partners, making it the most-watched live streamed event in history. The campaign also earned Red Bull Media House a Sports Emmy.

But really, it was a marketing campaign.

Despite Red Bull’s claim that this was not a marketing campaign, the energy drink giant used footage from the Stratos project in marketing campaigns in the year to come and a Felix Baumgartner POV video released about a year after the history-making jump racked up another 5 million views.

Tens of millions in earned media

Besides the fact that Red Bull cemented its strapline ‘Gives you wings’ once and for all and the fact that the brand gained an incredible boost of coolness; the Stratos campaign is estimated to have gained Red Bull tens of millions of USD in earned media value, reached over 200 million cumulative views, and on the bottom line, Red Bull saw a 7% sales increase in the first 6 months following the jump.

Hats off, nay space helmets off, to the incredibly talented marketing team at Red Bull for seizing this once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity and to Felix Baumgartner for jumping out of a tin can in a space suit and a parachute at an altitude so high not even airplanes go there!

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