There have been some adventurous brands as well. Ahead of the Red Bull Stratos stunt, KitKat sent a chocolate bar into space. Baumgartner was due to make his record-breaking jump the following day, and KitKat adapted its “Have a break” tagline to “Break from gravity”. Of course, the truly great part of the story is that Red Bull sent an Austrian stuntman, Felix Baumgartner, on a skydive mission from the edge of space. The company also live-streamed the jump from YouTube. Baumergartner flew to an altitude of almost 40,000m in a helium-filled balloon before jumping. Not only did he break several records, the stunt managed to set the bar for viral marketing. Just see for yourself: The latest proposal by Japanese brand Pocari Sweat to send a large can of its soft drink to the moon has raised concerns, specifically around space pollution. This would have sent space marketing to new heights. The concerns echoed an attempt by Space Marketing in 1993 to send a 1km-wide billboard into space, which would have been visible from Earth. Of course, it also failed in its attempt. Brands like Pizza Hut and Kodak have managed to arrange product placements on the International Space Station. Up till now, NASA has been reluctant to take part – its official rule has always been: “no product endorsements, generic entities only, and no commercial exploitation of flight on the shuttle.”
The Russians, it seems, have a more pragmatic view – they have sold advertising space on their Soyuz rockets to brands ranging from Sony electronics to Unicharm feminine hygiene products.
In 2001, Pizza Hut sent Vacuum packed pizzas to space and created a series of commercials about it. Radio Shack followed its example and filmed a commercial aboard the International Space Station featuring a Russian cosmonaut opening a Father’s Day present. This is, by no means, a modern feat. Omega’s Speedmaster watch was worn by US astronaut Walter Schirra during the country’s fifth manned space mission. And Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong wore Speedmasters in 1969, when they took man’s first steps on the Moon. There’s also no forgetting about the Cola Wars that went supernova in 1985. At the time, Coca-Cola had started designing a “space can” for astronauts to drink during missions. Pepsi got wind of the experiment and developed its own space can. Despite both boasting about being the first soft drink to be consumed in outer space, the experiment was deemed a failure by the crew. By Shané Schutte
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