Why Red Bull's space jump was worth the risk

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This was going to happen sooner or later.

Red Bull has been celebrating extreme sports for years. In doing this, they've developed a veritable content library of extreme sports coverage. But it's not just about the content -- the content is the result. It's about the idea -- Red Bull wants to own extreme sports in all its forms. And when you own an idea, good things, like a video library of extreme sports coverage, happen.

By owning any idea, brands become a source for audiences. You may not be looking for content sponsored by Red Bull, but you may be looking for videos about BMX contests, snowboarding, kitesurfing, cliff diving, skydiving, Danny MacAskill, Sean Pettit, and Felix Baumgartner. And when you find it, you'll most likely enter Red Bull's world.

Why Red Bull's space jump was worth the risk

But even if you don't find yourself in Red Bull's world with the first extreme sports video you choose, think about all the related videos that are available from Red Bull. If you keep clicking, you'll land on one of those eventually.

Owning an idea also means taking it where it's never been before, showing audiences something they've never seen and won't soon forget.

This brings us to Felix Baumgartner -- the world-famous daredevil -- and his record-breaking jump from the edge of space in October. Red Bull and Baumgartner began working on the jump in 2005. The logistics were mind-boggling. They had to develop the capsule, the suit, the parachute, safety protocols, secure high-altitude helium balloons, a medical team, a U.S. gas balloon license, and conduct multiple tests, training sessions, and trials, all before the real jump.

This level of brand commitment only happens when you want to own an idea.

What did Red Bull "get" from this commitment? Beyond the mainstream media coverage of Felix flying up to 127,000 feet, opening the capsule, jumping out, and breaking the sound barrier falling to the earth with Red Bull branding in nearly every shot, Red Bull's campaign for the jump scored 147 million video views in October alone, with 50 million views coming in its first three days. It's become the second largest video campaign of the year, the fourth largest video campaign in history, and trumps the second place brand on this month's chart by three times the views.