Felix Baumgartner is a name millions of people now recognise since his record breaking jump, freefalling 23 miles from the outer edge of Earth’s atmosphere, live last Sunday.
How often does this kind of record attempt happen? It’s the first I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Am I impressed with the record break? Yes, along with the fact that he survived and didn’t even throw up. Would I take up the same opportunity to attempt it? Perhaps; if it was completely accidental on my part, had to suffer some form of newly introduced legal punishment, or if my career took a sharp turn into space exploration/hardcore jumping activities.
There has been some debate about its relevance to our scientific knowledge; with U.S. Air Force officer Joseph Kittinger jumping just 128,000 feet lower over half a century ago. Others say it was simply an advertising stunt from Red Bull, the sponsor, who are well known for their extreme advertising. Note to Red Bull: ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ was a solid campaign, which should not let you plummet 23 miles down to Earth, but beautiful brand exposure none-the-less. It couldn’t have happened without them.
Isn’t it incredible to think that a soft drinks company put a man into the far reaches of our atmosphere, where 50 years ago it took an entire country’s Air Force? I find it strange that people can see this jump as anything other than progress. Looking at the photographs and film footage I find it amazing that human beings can not only experience these things, but can share them so vividly.
Inarguable is the fact that this footage broke YouTube records by 1600%; which was previously 500,000 live viewers during the summer Olympics footage, to 8,000,000 live viewers this Sunday (not to mention millions since).
I think the fact that it wasn’t available on any television channel (except in the US on the Discovery channel?) aided this record-breaking-level of audience captivation. YouTube are already working on upgrading their software to handle these numbers more broadly throughout their site. This jump has undoubtably pushed us forwards. The internet is evolving and brands are reaching new heights, breaking records and even expanding human limitations.
Another small step for man, but a giant leap for branding.