"Everything is possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Breaking Records

Photo is courtesy of usnews.com
By now you have probably heard the story and I apologize for being so late in blogging about it. On Sunday, October 14, 2012, Felix Baumgartner made history. Suspended 24 miles above Earth in a capsule carried by an ultra-thin helium balloon, Baumgartner jumped and broke the sound barrier. I get goosebumps every time I think of this brave man skydiving the farthest and fastest any human being has ever skydived. In just 9 minutes, he covered 24 miles at 833.9. He landed safely and has been compared to Neil Armstrong's moon landing and Evel Knievel's motorcycle jumps. This story is awe-inspiring and fantastic. We witnessed history that lazy Sunday. But what jumped out the most to me and my PR/marketing trained mind, was the amount of media and social media coverage this history-making jump received.

On any given Sunday afternoon, Americans can be found watching football games and getting jobs done around the house. On this particular Sunday afternoon, there were seven NFL football games being played, as well as coverage of the space shuttle, Endeavour, as it made its way toward the Los Angeles museum. There was no organized network broadcast in the U.S.; however, organizers of the jump said that more than 40 television stations in 50 countries carried the live feed of the jump. Nearly 30 cameras recorded Baumgartner's stunt, according to AP mobile. On of the largest media coverage impacts was found on the Internet. YouTube had over 8 million simultaneous views at the peak of the live stream, according to YouTube officials.

This photo is courtesy of
Not only did YouTube utilize live footage of the free fall, but so did Twitter and Facebook. Red Bull, Baumgartner's sponsor, posted a picture on Facebook of Baumgartner kneeling on the ground. According to AP mobile, that picture generated nearly 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and more than 29,000 share in less than 40 minutes. On Twitter, over half of the worldwide trending Twitter topics dealt with the jump.

Felix Baumgartner's jump was privately funded by Red Bull. There were no advertisements, no previous news conferences, no traditional medai and NASA had nothing to do with it. The initial jump was schedule for October 9 but was delayed due to high winds. Previous to the first scheduled jump and the second jump, Red Bull's Facebook page posted pictures and statuses talking about the "Stratos Mission." Besides the few pictures and status updates, Red Bull continued to advertise their brand and images on their Facebook page. Post-jump pictures were displayed and another of the pictures posted received 277,00 likes, 13,000 shares and 5,000 comments. Red Bull also had a live stream link on their Facebook page.

The amount of coverage this story generated through the Internet was phenomenal. By using the Internet Red Bull and Baumgartner was able to reach millions of people and receive real-time feedback. I believe that we are taught, as young and aspiring PR professionals, that we need to set the scene and push the news out about our company or event. Baumgartner and Red Bull treated this record-breaking jump just as any typical day. The response from followers world wide was unbelievable and surely had to have broken some kind of social media record.

Sunday, October 14, 2012- what a day.

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