Advertisement in outer space might seem like a bad idea, however, it is one with a long history. It is also becoming more popular since the cost of going to space is dropping.
Although the side effects, such as the following might not be worth it –
- Light pollution
- Space debris
In August, the Canadian firm Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC) announces that it wishes to launch a small satellite with a billboard on it on a SpaceX rocket. The story instantly went viral, and the following receive a storm of criticism –
In 2019, Russian entrepreneur Vlad Sitnikov got caught up in a parallel controversy. “I am an advertisement guy”, Sitnikov mentions. “Thus, I thought it would be cool to see a modern type of media in the sky.”
Sitnikov previously found his own advertisement agency, and now wants to do something with space advertising. Hence, he turns to friends in the space industry. The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology is a private university in Moscow. They came up with the plan in order to send a group of small satellites up, all with screens on them. Which collectively can act as a billboard noticeable from earth on which ads can be seen.
He began concept images, which display a Coca-Cola advertisement that appeared in the sky. That is when critique began pouring in, saying the proposal was vulgar. However, also might promote concerns like light pollution.
“These images were reposted in all places”, he says. “A big wave of hate flattened me. I decided to halt the project since people around the globe began disliking me.” His start-up, StartRocket, has been in limbo ever since.
What GEC and Sitnikov propose is just the most recent example of space advertising. A concept whose story goes back decades. During the ’90s, the Russian space plan, for example, had a variety of partnerships with brands.
- In 1996 a payment of $5m for floating a Pepsi can outside the space station Mir
- Pizza Hut paid them $1m in 2000 to print their logo on one of their rockets