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Red Bull scored a real coup this week when Austrian Felix Baumgartner become the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound, reaching a maximum velocity of 833.9mph (1,342km/h).

Felix was supported by Red Bull, the energy drink brand which has a strong track record in extreme sports sponsorship, and in a weekend when their F1 cars did well in the Korean Grand Prix it was clearly a good couple of days for brand exposure and identity.

What was striking about the free fall attempt however was the confidence shown by the brand – a less established brand might have wanted everything stamped with the logo – everything colour co-ordinated.

Red Bull however played a more subtle game – sure the capsule that took Felix up to the edge of space was called the Red Bull Stratos, and logos did appear on jump suits and parachute, but their use looked unforced, natural and above all confident.

Even the web site for the programme – http://www.redbullstratos.com/ – carries pretty minimal visual branding.

Red Bull have recognised that sometimes it’s the doing that is important in terms of brand building rather than the look – and here they have excelled themselves. The man may have fallen to earth, but the brand soared.

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