BrandMAX: Red Bull space jump the 'most daring stunt of all time'

Felix Baumgartner: takes the Red Bull space jump
Felix Baumgartner: takes the Red Bull space jump

Felix Baumgartner's space jump was "possibly the most ambitious and daring marketing stunt of all time", according to Red Bee Media's creative chief, Andy Bryant, who said advertisers should take tips from broadcasters.

Speaking at the BrandMAX conference today, Bryant praised stunts like Baumgartner's space jump from 128,000 feet, organised by Red Bull, which he called "possibly the most ambitious and daring marketing stunt of all time".

However, Bryant added that most content marketing "feels a bit like a big campaign" and needed to take tips from broadcasters.

Michael Reeves, the business development director at Red Bee, told the 200 delegates at the Brand Republic Group conference near St Paul’s in central London that brands often fail to create essential narrative tension in their video content marketing.

He said: "Brands have such an armoury of stories to tell about what they’ve achieved, their heritage, brilliant customer initiatives, or a spectacular marketing campaign.

"But they’ll often create a film with no story and no tension. If you take time to think about what’s in your arsenal and a structure, you can hook people with the truth of your brand."

He said even factual television programmes like the BBC’s ‘Grand Designs’ have engineered plot twists to "hook" viewers in.

Reeves said: "For example, on Grand Designs a couple building a house may seem to run out of money and it’s all doom and gloom, but then after the ad break their son arrives with £600,000.

"The jeopardy was manufactured, but it made for better viewing because it kept you hooked. That’s what brands often forget."

Red Bee, a content marketing agency, works with clients including the BBC and Barclays. It has a model for its video content that it summarises as "catalyst, conflict and conclusion".

Bryant, the director of creative at Red Bee, said: "Not many brands are doing content marketing and even fewer are doing it well. Many marketers are telling us that they’re not sure how content marketing can work for their brands, and they’re not sure how to measure it."

The pair said brands need to be more "televisual" in their approach to content, and highlighted their work with clients such as Waitrose.

Red Bee redesigned Waitrose's video player website to function more like a broadcaster's website, introducing features like scrolling carousels rather than lists and a wide video player.

People working in advertising need to abandon their natural "single-minded" approach when creating content marketing, Reeves said.

He continued: "Most of us with marketing and advertising backgrounds have been trained over many years to distil things down to one key point.

"That is brilliant thinking for advertising, but for content you’re not creating promotional material or interrupting people, so you can’t just have one single-minded message.

"You’re holding people over a longer period of time, so you need a sequence of compelling points."

Reeves and Bryant were speaking at BrandMAX, the annual one-day marketing conference organised by the Brand Republic Group.

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