This message seems to come straight out of a science fiction film, an Arthur C. Clarke book (Mmmm, just between 2001 and 2010, right!) or a Star Trek film. But wait a minute, this is happening today, well tomorrow, actually.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, brings this dream into reality. Although the Virgin Galactic site is not new, it was recently upgraded. Whoever has $200,000 to spend and wants to travel into space, can now order tickets online directly from the site.
Even if all this may seem to be a crazy eccentric challenge today, I wonder how people felt back in 1919 when Henry Farman, proposed the first commercial flight between two cities with his F.60 Goliath. 11 passengers could experience the flight between Paris and London and back on a daily basis. History tells that comparable, and even more ambitious airlines spread within the next few years. From airline to spaceline, here we are now.
Besides that, while listening to Branson's promotional trailer on Virgin Galactic site, I was almost gone into dreaming of this extraordinary voyage, when suddenly one detail attracted my attention out of the blue. In the promotional film, I noticed Mike Melvill, test pilot of SpaceShipOne pointed something quite interesting out. While describing the experience passengers will go through, he mentioned one brand : "... I'm sure with everybody being loose in there, they'll be letting go M&M's ...".
Then the film shows a camera view of the pilot in flight, releasing M&M's out of his arm pocket. Was it prepared that way? Pure coincidence? It could have been Skittles or Jelly Beans... Or is it a sign that some brands are already interested in space advertising or space product placement linked to SpaceShipTwo? After a quick search I found that M&M's had already been in space in 1981 (thanks to Fresh Creation)
Anyway, if we look a little backwards (article of CNN.com/space), Pizza Hut did also think about it in 2001, with their logo on Russian Proton rocket. So did RadioShack with the first live advert in space station Alpha. This pushed me into thinking of the new advertising opportunities linked to space travel and its future evolution. I dreamed myself in such a flight, trying to check through the windows of SpaceShipTwo if I could see the first floating space billboards, while listening to a gentle cabin announcement : "Virgin Galactic wishes you a pleasant flight. Free snacks brought to you in space by M&M."
I wonder what brands will be next to think about space marketing? Many could... and probably should. From cameras, camcorders, to glue, sunglasses, even vacuum cleaners... (yep, to help you clean the M&M's mess!).
Well, the sky is the limit. Woops! Not anymore!
Thank you Mister Branson.