On top of the plethora of NFTs that have been steadily releasing as of late, another form of technology is taking over, or rather, is further sowing its seeds in the marketing world. I am talking of course about the increase in space advertising and the sending of things into orbit via rockets.
While this idea for space marketing is nothing new, having existed as early as 2001 when Pizza Hut spent millions on sending an over-seasoned salami pizza to the ISS (International Space Station), we are seeing an abundance of space-related promotional news — and it’s not just because of the recent successful landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars.
It is due to a number of things. With the advancement of technology being the obvious culprit, it’s the proliferation of commercial space travel, or space tourism, that sits at the top of the list for reasons why we are hearing more about things getting sent to space. NASA has always had a policy where it barred any outside branding or advertisements aboard its ships and equipment, this is the reason why it was Russian astronauts eating the salami pizza in Pizza Hut’s space pizza delivery publicity stunt and not American pilots. Now we have options. From Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, companies are flocking in to have their names associated with the next frontier of marketing, and with less stringent rules on advertising, you best believe that these commercial space travel companies are all ears when it comes to additional resources.
Actual space tourism on a functional level is still years away, and majorly expensive, but that still hasn’t prevented brands from getting in on the extraterrestrial action. Though still in infancy, the number of commercial space travel/exploration-related news will most likely increase as we head towards the future, and just like how billboards became the medium of choice for outdoor advertising in the 1860s, the rocketship could be its replacement. Imagine — you look to the left outside of your space station hotel room window and you catch a glimpse of a small communications satellite, and just above its solar array, a flashing red “Drink Coca-Cola” display.
Read below for a few examples of how Space has already entered the marketing atmosphere, and which other business sectors will be jumping aboard the looming industry.
The only thing that could contest the volume of NFTs coming out is probably the number of new hard seltzers this year. Easily the alcoholic beverage of 2021, Miller saw this as an opportunity to make a statement on its commitment to brewing beer, and instead of launching a seltzer of its own, they launched a seltzer… into space. Their whimsical campaign saw over one million people tune in to see a hard seltzer-strapped rocket (albeit CGI) go up in flames where Miller captioned the launch as a success. The emphatic visuals were followed by a comment from Sofia Colucci, Vice President Miller Family of Brands, “For years, Miller has been an expert in brewing – from Lite to High Life to MGD – and we’ve never changed or compromised our love of great beer. Because we’re a beer. Not a seltzer. In case we haven’t made that clear yet.”
We’ve never seen a launch go so horribly, horribly, right. So long, Seltzer. https://t.co/yMNtBbmqaO
— Miller Lite (@MillerLite) May 13, 2021
With all the space travel set to take place in the near future, we are going to need hotels to accommodate all the travelers. One Company has already proposed plans for a fully operational space hotel in 2027. Orbital Assembly Corporation’s Voyager Station will begin construction in low Earth orbit in 2025 and will act as the world’s first luxury space hotel.
There will be sections reserved for the affluent and stakeholders of the project. Voyager Station will have a cinema, a health spa, gym, themed restaurants, libraries, concert venues, and Earth-viewing lounges. The hotel will accommodate up to 400 people. John Blincow, the founder of Gateway Foundation, which runs some of the Voyager’s pods, commented, “This will be the next industrial revolution.” Hard to believe that something out of a Sci-Fi film will be ready in just a little over five years.
Speaking of Sci-Fi films, as commercial space travel becomes normalized, it will inevitably move away from something incorporated into the science fiction genre. Much like how a modern-day smartphone would look out of place in a film from the ’80s yet is present as a prop in almost every TV series and movie of today. The Fast and Furious franchise is already playing with the notion in its 9th installment where Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pearce and Ludacris’ Tej Parker blast to the outer edges of Earth’s atmosphere in a modified rocket ship car. It’s only a matter of time before they start filming Hollywood movies in actual space.
With cosmetics dating back as early as ancient Egypt, people have pretty much seen it all when it comes to marketing beauty products. But what’s one place consumers have most likely never seen a cosmetic ad? Outerspace. It’s the initial shock of accomplishing something so radical that draws people in. Rather than using its spend for a big Instagram influencer, Estee Lauder contracted NASA to take 10 bottles of its Advanced Night Repair to the International Space Station (ISS) where they were photoed in the Cupola observational module with the planet Earth as the backdrop. Estee Lauder, like many of the brands on this list, pioneered a new way to execute a campaign by taking the idea off the planet. This campaign cost Estee Lauder a total of $128,000 USD and saw one of the returning space bottles auctioned off for charity. This is a great blue-ocean strategy, but the window of opportunity is becoming smaller and smaller as more brands send stuff to space.
Forget recreating any fragrance that conjures an earthly experience or memory. As our curiosity grows for space, so does our appetite to experience it with our senses. What does zero gravity feel like? What does the Earth look like from space? What does space smell like? Well, the answer to the last question, according to Eau De Space, is “hot metal and fried steak with hints of raspberries and rum.”
And if you’re looking for something outside of our atmosphere, Swedish scent purveyor Byredo has you covered with its “Atmospheric vapor” and “Cosmic Dust.” This “Space Rage” could even smell like the birth of a star.
I’m surprised this didn’t happen earlier. As Austin Powers so punningly spelled out, these rockets sending people and cargo to space are all phallic-shaped which is a blessing for pleasure aid manufacturers. Tenga’s “Love, Freedom, Tenga, and Space!” project is on the right track as they’ve partnered with the private space development startup Interstellar Technologies to launch the wishes of 1000 people in special “TENGA message pods” into space along with the TENGA Robot that will hopefully return to Earth. Data recovered from this mission will go on to help develop a masturbatory cup designed for use in space.
The Tracy’s Dog Turboo male masturbator takes a more literal approach to its marketing efforts as it is essentially a rocketship for the penis. Shaped like a rocketship, the Turboo features proprietary CFEET: Centrifugal Forced Ejaculation Enhancement Technology complete with three dynamic vibration modes (up to 13,000 rounds/min). The Centrifugal Forced Ejaculation Enhancement Technology provides ultra-high rotation speed that works with a high-speed rotating ball for an intense multi-directional experience. Based on your grip, the Tubroo generates differing full-scale centrifugal forces for deep stimulation.
As space tourism companies start getting more global media attention, they are going to want to eventually produce soft goods and start aligning with other brands for collaborations. With the current price tag for commercial space flights in the millions, you best believe that there will be sizeable marketing budgets and exclusive items. We haven’t even lifted off yet and Under Armour is already the official spacewear partner for Virgin Galactic. There will be levels to it as well. Think of the Porsche x Embraer 911 mixed with the ubiquitous NASA logo. NASA has for a long time been the most active space program when it comes to having its insignia and logotype appear on merchandise. From Converse, G-Shock, and even AAPE, it’s hard not to recognize the name when you see the ultramodern sans serif typeface. Tom Sachs is going to have his hands full as more of these space travel companies become household names.
Conventional naming for earthly places like Klondike Bar, 5th Avenue Chocolate, Subway, and Kentucky Fried Chicken will start to be overshadowed by new brands that speak of “blasting off,” “nebula,” or any other space-related themes. Mars, Milky Way, and Cadbury Astros chocolate along with Starburst and Orbit gum are going to have some of the most successful campaigns in the candy industry.
Krispy Kreme has already gone ahead with this notion in the creation of a Mars-themed donut. The sweet treat was designed to look like the Red Planet and was filled with Chocolate Kreme, dipped in caramel icing, and sprinkled with chocolate cookie crumbs. Perhaps if we are ever able to grow crops on Mars, we’ll have the option to buy them like organic foods but just at a thousand times the price.
Every big event garners global attention. What better way to attract attention than to send something to space. Fireworks and torch lighting will still be around but like the (pandemic-delayed) 2020 Olympics demonstrated, an event that happens every four years deserves a proper “launch.” Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency along with The University of Tokyo sent Gunplas from the International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module. This “G-SATELLITE” features two of the series’ mobile suits in figure form and are able to transmit messages while orbiting Earth.
We may see more of these commemorative launches for things like elections, the FIFA World Cup, and New Year’s Eve.
New Tech Using New Tech
The start of an entirely new industry is going to naturally present things that have never been seen/done before. New innovations will require supporting technology much like how most planes have in-flight entertainment, wifi, and your suitcase is not a trunk that weighs 50 pounds.
We are already seeing that in the case where cryptocurrency will be funding an entire satellite launch. SpaceX along with Canadian engineering firm Geometric Energy Corporation is set to launch its DOGE-1 CubeSat to the Moon during the first quarter of 2022 — all paid for using Dogecoin. DOGE-1 will become the first commercial lunar payload paid for with a cryptocurrency.
Flying to space is not cheap, and because of that, we’re only seeing names of billionaires pop up when mentioning the idea of space tourism. Even after things are figured out and scaled-down, it will still only be reserved for millionaires. As things start to heat up for this experience for the wealthy, more players with deep pockets will begin to appear with their take on the industry, maybe even piggybacking some of the more established companies. As many of these affluent individuals own multiple businesses, there’s going to be a push to make sure that maximum exposure is achieved. Almost like running for election, a lot of these billionaires will be putting themselves out there to become the unofficial spokesperson for space travel.
ZOZOTOWN founder, Yusaku Maezawa, is already calling upon eight “creatives” to join his SpaceX moon voyage, while Jeff Bezos is auctioning off one ticket for Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight. Sir Richard Branson is taking a different route as he’s literally getting “high” on his own supply by training and suiting up for a flight to space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.
Above are just some of the examples of how space is beginning to make its way into the marketing vocabulary. One fear from this trajectory is the imminent increase of space junk adding to the thousands of satellites already in orbit. What goes up must come down. This fear was all too real when earlier this month a part of a large rocket that China launched into space came falling back to earth over 17,000 miles per hour. March 25 also saw the uncontrolled re-entry of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage as it put on a light show over the Pacific Northwestern skies as it entered the atmosphere, eventually landing on farmland. With the increase in space tourism, there will also be a growing demand for space debris solutions.
You're seeing #SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket breaking up upon re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. Falcon 9 rocket debris lit up the Pacific Northwestern skies across Washington and Oregon. ? ? pic.twitter.com/dPOiDqK7ze
— Ika Ferrer Gotić N1 (@IkaFerrerGotic) March 26, 2021