Various companies have filmed ads in space or engaged in
space-related promotional activity:
- Commercial for Radio Shack, Popular Mechanics publicity shot
($100,000), Pizza Hut (confirms that the whole ISS package was less
than $2.3 million or so) and other recent deals at "Russia Takes the Lead in Space Age Advertising",
Space.com, 31 May 2001.
- Beef Jerky Promotion Delivered to Space Station, SPACEandTECH
Digest, 28 May 2001. Does not seem like a big dollar deal; note
the offer of $1000 and how they eventually flew free
- 2001: Pizza hut continues their ISS promotions: Pizza Hut Delivers, SPACEandTECH Digest, 28 May 2001.
- 1999: Pizza Hut buys an ad on the side of a Proton launcher for
about $1 million: "Pizza Hut buys rights to put logo on Russian
rocket", Florida Today Space Online, 30 Sep 1999 and "Pizza Hut in
Space", SpaceViews, 1 Oct 1999.
- 1999: Mir commercial for the More.com online drugstore. "Mir Crew Approaches
the End", SpaceViews, 24 Aug 1999.
- 1998: "Mir cosmonauts pitch pens on U.S. television", 8 Feb 1998. Live
appearance on QVC shopping channel. Says that some money went to the
Russian Space Agency but doesn't disclose the amount.
- 1997: "Russian cosmonaut films milk ad on Mir space station",
Florida Today Space Online, 21 Aug 1997. The
figure of $450,000 for the ad is mentioned, although it is not clear
to me whether that includes the fee for the Russian Space Agency or
- 1996: Final
Frontier Beef Jerky was trying to film an ad on Mir.
- 1996: Coke and Pepsi both have space promotion efforts (Coke on shuttle,
Pepsi on Mir). According to
"Coke, Pepsi take cola wars to space", Florida Today Space
Online, May 16, 1996, Coke has spent more than $750,000 on their
effort (which according to them and NASA is real research as well as
promotion). According to "Pepsi-Cola and
bottling partners launch $550 million assault on russian soft drink
market", Pepsi news release, 25 Apr 1996, they are spending $550
million on Russian marketing over 5 years (obviously their space ad is
only one part of that). According to
"Pepsi goes one up on Coke in space", Florida Today Space
Online, May 22, 1996, it is a "seven-figure deal" between Pepsi
and the Russian Space Agency.
According to "Pepsi Teams Up With Russian Space
May 1996, Pepsi "is considering plans ranging from orbital
billboards to sponsorship of a manned lunar landing" (presumably such
consideration was at an early stage).
Apparently the ad filmed on Mir was aired for the September 1997 MTV
Music Awards, according to "Pepsi
Blue", Adbusters Magazine, Winter 1998.
- 4 Sep 1996: MTV's Music Awards show had an interview with the Mir
cosmonauts, according to Florida Today
Space Online, 5 Sep 1996. No word on financial arrangements.
- About 1993: Columbia pictures was going to pay $500,000 for an ad
on the side
of the rocket on the first Conestoga launch. However, the deal was
cancelled when the launch date kept slipping--schedule reliability is
important for advertising so that one can coordinate with larger
promotional campaigns (CSTS, section
220.127.116.11.3, page 374 and section 18.104.22.168.2, page 377).
An interesting alternative to paint or decals would be to project
an image onto the launcher with lighting. Rockets lit up at night are
fairly spectacular and this alternative would require few if any
design changes or payload penalties for the launcher itself (I saw
this suggestion on sci.space.policy, Jan 1998).
- About 1960. I heard a rumor which went: "Dan Delong passed on a
story from Ernst Stuhlinger- around 1960, representatives from
Coco-Cola met with Von Braun and asked how much a Jupiter rocket cost-
$15 million, Von Braun replied. The Coke guys looked at each other
and said, fine, we'll take one [to paint it as a Coke bottle; NASA
said no]". Anyone have a more reliable source for this story? Has it
One can imagine launch viewings being an attraction, perhaps
somewhat the way that corporate boxes at sports events are. Schedule
reliability an issue, obviously. This is done on a small scale by
space companies for their employees; another example is a
government one, "Delta rocket carries special significance for servicemen",
Florida Today Space Online, September 13, 1996.
The leading company in setting up space advertising deals is Space
Marketing, Inc. See CSTS, section 22.214.171.124,
page 380, or "Mir
Watch", Spaceviews, July 1, 1996.
Another category is space billboards (e.g. inflatable corporate
logos visible for a few weeks before they reenter), space fireworks,
etc. CSTS, section 126.96.36.199.1, page 262,
has some good ideas about various sorts of
displays that one might devise (synthetic auroras, artificial meteor
showers, etc). Haven't seen any careful analysis of costs
(CSTS, section 188.8.131.52.3, page
263 makes no attempt to estimate how many people could see a display,
and how that would affect what customers are willing to pay).
Astronomers are concerned about light pollution; for example see "The Star of
Tolerance", International Dark-Sky Association Newsletter,
No. 25 (September 1995), and there may be public
opposition based on more general grounds too.
Circa 1993 there was vocal opposition in the US Congress to
proposed space billboards; see for example the Congressional Record, volume
103, page S7759 (23 Jun 1993), pages E1732-E1734 (1 Jul 1993), and
pages E2862 (10 Nov 1993). As far as I know no legislation resulted
from this and the issue dropped off the radar screen because there
were no serious proposals for space billboards in subsequent
years. The furor was a response to a trial balloon (no pun intended)
by Space Marketing Inc. of Roswell, GA, USA.
This page is part of Jim
Kingdon's space markets page.