Corporate Eye

The Real Reason Red Bull Stratos Was So Successful

red bull stratosThe Red Bull Stratos project didn’t just reach new heights in skydiving, it also reached new heights in marketing reach, engagement, and success. What made this marketing sponsorship so successful for Red Bull?

Was it because the brand helped to promote an extreme event that aligned with its brand promise — Red Bull: It Gives You Wings? Yes.

Was it because an integrated marketing plan that included digital, social, and traditional marketing tactics was strategically executed? Yes.

Was it because a record-breaking jump from near space to the surface of the earth is simply newsworthy and buzzworthy? Yes.

All of the above reasons are true, but none of them are the main reason why the Red Bull Stratos project was so successful for the Red Bull brand. The real reason can be summed up in a single word — emotion.

Red Bull Stratos piqued consumers’ emotions in a manner that mirrored the brand message and image. It evoked feelings of freedom and triumph and made people believe anything is possible. That emotional connection between consumers and the brand is incredibly valuable in terms of building word-of-mouth marketing, brand loyalty, and brand equity.

You can see a video from the Red Bull Stratos jump below. Watch it and then think about how it made you feel. It’s hard to watch it without feeling some kind of emotion, which is exactly why it worked so well for the Red Bull brand.

Red Bull positioned the event as one that would collect data that could be useful to space programs and scientists in a variety of ways that haven’t yet been imagined. This clever bit of “un-marketing” put the purpose of the Red Bull Stratos project (for the greater good of moving science forward) front and center.

However, when all was said and done, Red Bull succeeded by evoking consumers’ emotions and deepening their connections with the Red Bull brand. It’s that connection that strengthens Red Bull and leads it another step down the path of becoming a relationship brand.

Bottom-line, this extreme marketing event worked, but it shouldn’t be copied carelessly. Alignment with the brand promise and appealing to appropriate emotions that are relevant to the brand are critical to the success of extreme marketing campaigns and sponsorships. Tread carefully.

Image: Kate Renkes

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.