The energy drink's billionaire boss reportedly hasn't spoken to the daredevil in the four years since
Skydiver Felix Baumgartner, the daredevil who became a household name around the world when he famously fell to earth from the stratosphere, has been accused of failing to honour his agreement with his Red Bull sponsors by not mentioning the energy drink brand just before he leapt into the record books.
According to reports in his native Austria, Baumgartner had been instructed to expressly name check Red Bull when the global media was broadcasting his dive from 39km off the surface of the earth from a helium balloon in October 2012. Instructed by Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz, the richest man in Austria and the 64th worldwide, to say “This is the world of Red Bull,” Baumgartner said instead “I am going home now.”
Footage of the skydive was widely shared on social media, rocking almost 41m views on the official Red Bull, with Baumgartner winning millions of fans for travelling at an estimated top speed of Mach 1.25, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier without being powered by a vehicle.
But despite the PR stunt being one of the most successful in Red Bull’s long history of headline-baiting events, Austrian media is now reporting that Mateschitz was left furious after Baumgartner’s failed line reading, and is understood to have not spoken to him in the years since.
A former toothpaste salesman, Mateschitz made his fortune when he realised that the energy drink market in Asia had failed to find a footing in Europe and North America. Giving up his job, he spent a year devising a marketing strategy designed to turn Red Bull into a widely sold and consumed brand, making it a global leader and netting an estimated fortune of €13.5bn in the process.
Red Bull currently sponsors a number of events around the world, including football teams in Leipzig, New York, and Salzburg, as well a successful Formula One racing team.