Earlier this year, Mondelez announced that it was changing up its media plan to bring more content into its marketing fold. Part of this initiative is "Stride Gum Presents: Heaven Sent," what Mondelez bills as a "mad intense" live event happening tomorrow, in which pro skydiver Luke Aikins will be jumping out of a plane from 25,000 feet above the earth. The idea seems to take a page out of Red Bull Stratos' playbook, in which Felix Baumgartner fell to the earth from 24 miles, about five times that high. But this one throws in a twist: Aikins will not have a parachute or even a wingsuit.
The idea was conceived for Mondelez out of ad vet Jimmy Smith's company Amusement Park Entertainment, along with aerospace physiologist Chris Talley and his company Precision Food Works. Mondelez served as executive producer, along with the Emmy Awarded-Al Berman.
"This is not a magic trick," said Mr. Smith. "Luke really won't have a parachute, nor a wing -- just the clothes on his back."
Aikins is a third-generation skydiver and in his 25-year career, he's had over 18,000 skydives. To prepare for the event, he's gone through trials with a parachute, and he worked with performance psychologist Michael Gervais to keep his head in the game.
"It's a story about pushing yourself beyond what we think is humanly possible," said Katie Williams, Mondelez International head of N.A. gum and candy equity, in the teaser video.
As for the connection to product, "Stride is a brand that is all about mad intensity in everything we do," added Laura Henderson, Mondelez International global head of content and media monetization.
You can check it out tomorrow, July 30, on Fox at 8:00 P.M. EST. (Update: On Saturday, Aikins landed safely, but a different kind of hitch arose around SAG-AFTRA issues, according to Deadline.com.)
Stride's "Mad Intense" marketing also includes a series of irreverent animated ads reminiscent of old school MTV from Wieden & Kennedy. One ad, for example, shows a mama fruit barfing on her baby fruit like a bird feeding her young. Another shows an arm wrestler in a showdown with a semi, and a third features a videogame-inspired teenage hero club. Amusement Park Entertainment also just debuted a "Heaven Sent" app.