Tesla’s Launch-Time Product Placement Was Stellar—but It’s Actually Nothing New

Brands have been using space as an advertising platform since the 1960s

nasa astronauts
In a futuristic photo-op, a Tesla Model X gave astronauts Hurley and Behnken a lift to the launch pad. NASA/Kim Shiflett

Even though Americans have become inured to product placement, it was impossible not to notice the deft bit of branding that SpaceX founder Elon Musk pulled off before Saturday afternoon’s launch of the Crew Dragon Demo-2: For the quick drive to launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken climbed into a sleek, showroom-new Tesla Model X.

@UpperEastRob robert.klara@adweek.com Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.