It was the jump seen around the world.
On Sunday, Oct. 14, when Felix Baumgartner broke a 50-year world record by falling 24 miles to back to Earth, not only was it a perfect landing for the 43-year-old Australian skydiver, it was a perfect landing for Red Bull, which had sponsored the risky record attempt.
Baumgartner's risk was extreme; Red Bull's risk was extreme in its own way.
Yes, the jump was a success, as it was viewed by a record 8 million people on YouTube. Baumgartner is being celebrated and Red Bull’s sponsorship can mean nothing but good things for the brand (news features, updated Facebook posts, etc.), but what if things hadn't turn out well? Was Red Bull prepared to respond and deal with the crisis that would have undoubtedly come had this highly promoted campaign ended in tragedy?
Red Bull is no stranger to sponsoring high-risk events such as Formula One racing, but a free fall from space? We can only assume that Red Bull had a detailed crisis plan in place, and knew exactly what its response would have been had Baumgartner not survived. We'll never know what that response would have been—and we should all be glad of that. But it's worth noting that the crazier the PR stunt, the more sober the crisis plan should be.
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