Sir Richard Branson, then Jeff Bezos and now one of Britain’s most celebrated advertising creatives, Trevor Beattie will soon be taking off into space, but first he needs to find a flight to catch to New Mexico where his space shuttle awaits. No easy thing in a global pandemic.
If it wasn’t for the outbreak of Covid-19, Trevor Beattie—the co-founder of Cheil-owned agency BMB and the mind cited as the creator of FCUK and the famed ‘Hello Boys’ poster for Wonderbra featuring Eva Herzigová—would have had his space flight by now, scheduled as he has been for some time to fly with Virgin Galactic on one of its first commercial voyages.
I’m going to be going into space. There you go. I love saying that. I’m going to bloody space.
The billionaire space race, with Branson and Bezos both taking their self-funded flights to leave the planet for a brief period, was exacerbated by the delays imposed by the virus—meaning they were both forced to wait until around the same time as each other to take off, generating new interest in space travel.
“I’m going to be going into space. There you go. I love saying that. I’m going to bloody space,” states a giddy Birmingham, UK accented Beattie, who has had his trip booked since the same week he set up the agency back in 2003. He spoke to Adweek as a guest on the weekly ‘Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad’ podcast.
On hearing of Branson’s plans to develop a flight that could take people into space and back, he got in touch with the Virgin founder, who called Beattie and told him to come straight to the Mojave desert for the press conference as their first customer. And he did.
Beattie then flew back to London again and went straight to the agency.
“The weird thing was a couple of guys came into the office the next day and said: ‘Trevor, you missed this great thing yesterday. Branson’s done this space thing. You’d have loved it. It was all over the telly.’ So, I had to tell them I knew because I was there,” he laughs.
I’ll be a better and more creative person having done this.
Beattie presented a book he created as a child around space that he has always kept as an example of his lifelong dream of going—or at least nearly going—into orbit and becoming an astronaut.
Talking about the Virgin Galactic test flight, which saw Branson realize his own dream in early July, Beattie admitted he gets emotional whenever he sees one of the vessels take to the air and that he will bore everyone about it once it’s over.
“It’s going to be a fucking nightmare. You know, there’s always that man at the bar telling people what they did and I’m going to be a nightmare.”
He denied that he has been involved in the marketing of Virgin Galactic previously, despite reports to the contrary, but says he does feel more of an ambassador for the brand than a customer.
“I’ve always felt that I won’t forget it because I love them. I love what they’re doing and I’ll always talk them up … it’ll be a deeply emotional time for me. Having studied this for a lifetime, the best expression I can make of it is that it’s the ultimate form of homesickness. I think that’s what it is. I’m proud to say Buzz Aldrin is a friend of mine, so I’ve spoken to moonwalkers, and they’re all profoundly affected by the trip. Well, I’m only dipping my toe in it … But it does profoundly move me when I talking to them.”
Beattie also defends the flights against those who complain about the environmental impact, claiming it to be another step in man’s evolution as well as making it accessible to more people to experience.
“The more people go, the more the price will reduce—but more important than that, ultimately— it’s about feeding the soul, and the art and the mental wealth,” he explained, expressing why it is so important for him to be a part of the experience. “I’ll be a better and more creative person having done this because it’s all I have ever wanted to do. And more people need to go to space to experience that.”
As we speak, Beattie still doesn’t have a date for his flight, but he knows it’s close as he continues to count down to launch day.