Felix BaumgartnerSo Red Bull might not give you wings, but the Austrian energy drink maker gave Felix Baumgartner the ability to make the gutsiest skydive in history today. The 24-mile jump through space that's been dubbed the Red Bull Stratos was delayed by fierce winds earlier in the week, but today it happened. It was one step for man, one giant freefall through space for mankind. Not to mention the greatest PR stunt pulled off since Hulk Hogan's sex tape made him relevant again (OK, so that was just this morning, but still ...). 

Have you seen Apollo 13? Remember how freaked out Ed Harris was waiting to hear from Tom Hanks and his buddies during their return to earth inside a NASA-built tin can? Red Bull convinced a guy to do it with nothing but a pressurized space suit between him and all those layers of atmosphere.

And he did it!

Baumgartner actually got his butt safely to the desert in New Mexico. It took him just a few minutes to fall about 128,097 feet, but he's still alive. Once it's confirmed, Baumgartner's crazy skydive is expected to be listed as the highest ever jump. There's also the possiblity that he'll be listed as the first human to break the speed of sound for reaching speeds of 707 miles per hour.

For Baumgartner, there's no feat that can likely equal that.

As for Red Bull, I want to know the marketing genius who got this thing moving. It's public relations gold. They managed to get a scientific feat, that the entire world watched, stamped with their company name.

It was a gamble -- can you imagine if the suit had ripped and Baumgartner succumbed to the lack of oxygen and insane pressure on re-entry (OK, I don't want to think about it either)? It could easily have been the dumbest PR move ever if things had gone wrong. Instead, Baumgartner's success, and the scientific significance to this dive, mean it paid off big time for Red Bull.

When I think of companies who have done any better, maybe Macy's with their Thanksgiving Day Parade beats Red Bull -- it does happen every single year -- but that may be it.

Can you think of a feat that comes close to this? Was Red Bull smart here or was it too risky?

 

Image via TheMrMeLK0m/YouTube