Taking The Leap – Felix, Red Bull & What We Can Learn About Presentations

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 by Simon Morton

In what can only be described as the most impressive, expensive, media focussed, record breaking, marketing spectacular of recent times, a man has fallen from space (almost).

I am of course talking about Felix Baumgartner and his epic leap from the Red Bull Stratos Capsule. In under 10 minutes Felix covered a distance almost equal to a vertical marathon (24 miles to be precise), reaching a top speed of 833.9mph on the way (Mach 1.2 to the aeronautically minded)…and survived.

A truly amazing feat in many ways, but what does it have to do with presentations?

Felix succeeded because he was prepared.  He had the relevant training, experts and equipment to give him the very best chance of not only surviving but achieving something that no-one had achieved before.

But perhaps the most incredible work came from the Red Bull Stratos marketing team who created and enthused an audience.

It is estimated that there are approximately 150,000 people worldwide who jump out of perfectly serviceable aircraft for fun each year. Let’s be generous and add in a few space buffs (1.2 million watched Curiosity land on Mars in August this year), 2000 base jumpers, 400 registered stunt men and include the 44,000 holders of Guinness World Records.

Despite my completely arbitrary equation for this, I think a prospective audience of about 1.4 million is probably not a bad guesstimate.

Strangely Red Bull are not about to reveal what they actually spent on the project but £30 million is widely agreed by those in the know to be about right. This means that it would have been cheaper to send each of the 1.4 million ‘prospects’ a case of Red Bull and a bunch of flowers.

But that would have been the easy option and making an impact with today’s media savvy consumers needs a bit more welly. What the Red Bull marketing team achieved was storytelling genius that threw out some truly amazing stats:

The live feed of the event was carried by more than 40 networks in 50 countries

Eight million people watched on YouTube

3.1 million tweets ensued

30,000 facebook ‘shares’ of the first static image released in just 30 minutes

And my Sunday dinner was allowed to gently cremate itself while I watched!

So next time you’re preparing a presentation just take a moment to consider what you can achieve if you aim a little higher!

And because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – here it is in Lego.

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