Social media gives you wings

Can the Red Bull Stratos jump claim to be the greatest single marketing action of the social media age, asks Charlie Dundas, executive vice president for UK and Ireland, Repucom.

Red Bull Stratos
Red Bull Stratos

Less than a month ago, one man was facing his destiny. Alone at 128,000ft, Felix Baumgartner was preparing to freefall faster than the speed of sound knowing that whatever happened the world would be watching.

Back on earth, Red Bull was preparing a sophisticated media campaign to ensure that everyone was talking about this extraordinary achievement on October 14.

In delivering on that goal, Red Bull had a key advantage. It was already one of the most talked-about consumer brands in the social media space.

Red Bull’s involvement in Formula One is among the most successful brand engagements in global sports but the Stratos mission still managed to achieve a remarkable spike in conversations.

Repucom and partner company Sport+Markt tracked the social media impact of Baumgartner’s pioneering leap, from the weeks leading up to the successful attempt to the aftermath.

In-depth analysis, powered Crimson Hexagon technology, provided detailed evidence of how dramatically the Red Bull brand dominated global online discussion on the day.

Globally it generated more than 180 million Twitter impressions and Red Bull was mentioned 1.14 million times on Twitter alone that day.

As a benchmark, the brand averaged around 30,000 mentions per day in the first week of October.

Sebastian Vettel’s triumph for Red Bull Racing Formula One team in the Singapore Grand Prix on September 23 helped the brand achieve mentions in around 50,000 tweets that day. By comparison, the Stratos live jump generated more than 20-times that level of response.

All the more encouraging for Red Bull was the tonality surrounding online discussion about the jump.

In all, 95% of comments were deemed either positive or neutral, further projecting an affirmative image of the Red Bull brand’s engagement in the daring mission. Among other notable authors, supportive comments stemmed from the official channels of NASA and YouTube, whose live stream of the jump attracted eight million viewers.

The online buzz was most prevalent in the USA, with the UK, Spain, Mexico and Brazil making up the top five countries most active in the discussion. The online conversation was predominantly driven by male social media users, with females accounting for approximately a quarter of all posts that directly referenced Red Bull.

On the day, the UK was the second most active country in the world in terms of the Twitter conversation around Stratos - there were 72,060 posts from the UK referring directly to the Red Bull brand. Only the US - with around 300,000 - was more prolific in the discussion.

Analysis on a per capita basis revealed that the UK was the ninth most active, with 1,167 posts per million population. Antigua & Barbuda had the most posts per population with 2,561.

Even Sebastian Vettel’s win at the Korean Grand Prix on the day of the jump was eclipsed by the buzz around the Stratos mission. Analysis of the keywords used in relation to the term Red Bull on the day of Baumgartner’s jump linked only a small fraction to the F1 team’s success.

It may not have been the greatest marketing stunt ever but our evidence certainly supports the claim that this was the greatest single marketing action of the social media age.

Charlie Dundas, executive vice president for UK and Ireland, Repucom