In October 2012, Felix Baumgartner jumped from a platform into the edge of space in nothing but a spacesuit and parachute. He free fell for just over four minutes, breaking the speed of sound at an estimated speed of 843.6 mph (Mach 1.25). A government space program didn’t sponsor the mission. Red Bull sponsored it. The Red Bull logo was on Baumgartner’s suit, parachute, and capsule that lifted him to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere.
Red Bull Stratos, the team behind the mission, live streamed the event on YouTube, generating millions of views. Then, in 2020 SpaceX partnered with NASA to launch the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. The possibility of space travel and tourism for those who are not highly trained astronauts seems closer than ever.
Millennials, Gen-Z, and even the youngest generations tend to value experiences over things. They spend their money on trips, experiences, and exploration. For many, being able to post an adventure to Instagram has more value than buying a new car. Imagine the possibilities to meet that need for adventure where very few have gone – space.
Space marketing offers a unique opportunity for companies to reimagine themselves outside Earth. Commercial companies see the opportunity and are taking the leap into space. These early ventures into space will change how companies do business and possibly influence where we choose to vacation in the future. Now is the time for CMOs to start thinking about space tourism, travel, and marketing.
Space Marketing Starts On Earth
While space makes us want to look to the sky, we can’t lose sight that most of humanity still on Earth. The idea of space marketing has to start on Earth, where people can get an idea of what the future holds. Recreating space travel and planets can plant the seed in people’s heads that space travel is not only possible but a likely reality in their lifetime.
A Visit To Mars – Via Las Vegas
Before we launch into the atmosphere, brands should take note of the opportunities here on Earth to venture into space. Take Mars, for instance. MarsWorld is a new exhibit coming to Las Vegas. Inside the world’s largest dome (the Rose Bowl can fit inside), people can experience what it will be like to live in a city on Mars. Much like the metaverse, brands now have a chance to be part of the world building that is space, interplanetary travel, and futuristic city development.
The Chief Designer and EVP of MarsWorld is John Spencer. He is also the founder of the Space Tourism Society. The Space Tourism Society defines space tourism as Earth orbit and suborbital experiences, beyond Earth orbit (such as Lunar and Mars) experiences, Earth-based simulations, tours, and entertainment experiences (like MarsWorld), and cyberspace tourism experiences.
International Space Station Under The Sea
When we think of extraterrestrial life, we usually look to the stars. In the movie Pacific Rim, monsters emerge from an interdimensional portal that happens to be at the bottom of the ocean. While aquanauts like Fabien Cousteau don’t expect to find interdimensional monsters at the bottom of the ocean, they see it as a place that needs exploration and research. The best way to do that? With an underwater space station.
Fabien Cousteau is stepping into his grandfather’s shoes intending to create a modular, underwater space station for “researchers, universities, and corporations who “rent” the habitat to conduct scientific research on just about anything except research related to warfare.”
Traditionally, underwater living happened in small pods no bigger than a bus. Cousteau’s station, named Proteus, will be about 4,000 square feet. It’s large enough for “a laboratory, a medical bay, the video studio, living and sleeping quarters, and even a hydroponic greenhouse so that aquanauts can have fresh food.”
In the tradition of Cousteau’s grandfather, Proteus station will have a video production facility, capable of broadcasting in 16k from the ocean. Cousteau also plans on “releasing VR/AR content that can help spread the word about an area of research he sees as much more important to the future of our species than space research.” The opportunity for CMOs here is to take a page out of Red Bull’s book. By funding research or ocean missions, they can take advantage of the unknown, break records, and inspire people around the world.
SpaceX Resort In Boca Chica
SpaceX plans on doing more than launching rockets and shuttles into space. They want to develop Boca Chica, their latest launch site, into a 21st-century Spaceport. SpaceX is looking for talent to develop and oversee SpaceX’s first resort from inception to completion. SpaceX’s ultimate mission is to enable life on Mars. Starting with a resort on Earth could be the perfect opportunity for brands to get experience in the space tourism industry.
Space Marketing Agencies Have Arrived
Space exploration isn’t just for the billionaires of the world. Venture capitalists like Metatron Capital see the value in the space industry and are ready to invest in startups working on early-stage space technology.
More than funding space technology startups, Metatron created Metatron Media Partners to identify and manage “marketing opportunities across various space exploration around the globe, connecting brands with the next frontier of space discovery and travel.” Partnering brands with international and U.S. space entities will help offset the enormous costs of space travel and exploration.
“Think of space as an entirely new marketing and media platform where the right brands can associate in innovative and purposeful ways by aligning with the new space frontier,” said Allan Finehirsh, co-head of Metatron Media Partners, in a recent interview. They are possibly the first agency wholly devoted to private-sector space marketing.
From space buses wrapped in Rocket Mortgage signage, sponsored space suits (like Red Bull), to Space Coke, and McDonald’s lunar fries, these are all examples of how the agency believes brands can align themselves with the space industry. Metatron’s leadership thinks of space as an entirely new marketing and media platform where the right brands can associate in innovative and purposeful ways by positioning themselves within the new space frontier.
Zach Rosenberg, the former president of media agency MBMG and co-head at Metatron, suggests brands interested in space should align themselves with lunar mining, cutting edge research, and space industrialization. He said, “Think of it as product integration in space.”
Another pioneer in the space is Cosma Schema a space design and branding agency. According to their website the agency’s mission is to connect more humans to space by utilizing basic design and branding principles. Clients include ABL Space Systems, World Space Week and The Planetary Society.
[email protected] Marketing is another agency working in this space. According to their website, they are planning to take brands to space for marketing activations with the use a satelite that will be launched in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Space Tourism Conferences Are Just Getting Started
Marketing in space takes a new way of thinking. Just like how the Internet transformed the way businesses marketed their products and interacted with customers, so too will space. Space isn’t another physical space to throw up a billboard (space billboards are not met with acceptance, but the concept of space tourism is becoming more interesting by the minute). Space is a place where companies can help tourists reach a dream people have wondered for centuries – to know what it’s like to travel among the stars.
Space conferences are a great way to be introduced to the space industry and meet the people who’ve been envisioning the future of space tourism and marketing. Conferences are a low-risk option for companies to immerse themselves in the industry and start thinking about how their brands can fit into a space marketing theme.
Still not sure where to begin with a space marketing strategy? Maybe participating in a space tourism event could help you take off.
The Space Tourism Conference will take place in 2021 in Los Angeles (or possibly virtually). According to the event’s website, attendees will learn the ways space tourism is thriving, what the future of space tourism has to offer, and what the major players are doing in the industry.
Why CMOs Need To Pay Attention To Space Marketing
From 2001 to 2009, Space Adventures took seven civilians to the International Space Station. While that’s a small number, we know that number will possibly increase in the next decades. Since then, their space offerings have expanded to more space experiences and on Earth experiences. Space is quickly becoming a place for anyone with a flair for adventure to make their mark on this upcoming industry.
CMOs always have to keep one eye to the future as mechanisms for storytelling and where customers are is ever-changing. The Internet morphed into social media, which is morphing into the metaverse. People are becoming more eco-friendly and socially conscious. Target audiences are more diversified, and options to reach potential customers seem to expand continually.
Space marketing is no exception. It’s one area that fascinates the human mind at its core. From a young age, we look to the stars, memorize planets, learn the moon’s phases, and reach the mythology of space described by humans of the past. Now is the time to break free of the “what ifs” to build a true understanding of space and be part of the destination it is soon to become.