Anyone needing further evidence that Google (NAS: GOOG) is a Rule Breaker got it Sunday. Thanks to YouTube and sponsor Red Bull, more than 32 million watched as Austria's Felix Baumgartner performed a parachute jump from Earth's stratosphere. He landed safely despite, at one point, achieving Mach 1 in freefall:
In years past, a stunt like this would have merited a one-hour special on a major TV network. Publicists and ad executives at CBS, Walt Disney's ABC, or Comcast's NBC would have created a massive marketing campaign to lure in advertisers willing to pay a hefty premium for access to a captive audience.
Think of Geraldo Rivera's ill-fated 1986 broadcast, "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults ," which, disappointingly, proved empty upon opening. Host station WGN nevertheless won big because of huge, hype-driven ratings.
Networks weren't involved this time, left out just as they were in 1974, when daredevil Evel Knievel attempted and failed to clear a jump of Idaho's Snake River Canyon. Promoters charged fees for broadcasting the event on closed-circuit television, or CCTV.
Red Bull veered some from Knievel's approach -- anyone with a Web connection was free to watch -- but the disruptive outcome appears to have been equally breathtaking. With one stunt, the energy drink supplier generated tens of millions of ad impressions, all without the aid of a major broadcast network.
The article With Space Jump Broadcast, YouTube Adds a Touch of Crazy originally appeared on Fool.com.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google and Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney and Google. The Fool has on Walt Disney. The Fool has stock on Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.