Is Out of Home Ready for Outer Space?

No, the stars won't be obscured by interstellar billboards

One small step for billionaires is one giant leap for advertising. 

Canadian startup Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC) recently announced the Doge-1 Mission to the Moon. An 88-pound satellite called CubeSat will hitch a ride aboard a Falcon 9 rocket launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX during a lunar payload mission in Q1 of 2022.

Once in orbit, the CubeSat’s screen will display ads, logos and art; airtime can be purchased exclusively using the Dogecoin cryptocurrency. The feed will be broadcast to livestreaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.

So, no, we will not be watching ads in space like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

As GEC co-founder and CEO Samuel Reid noted on Twitter, the endeavor features “disruptive, non-obtrusive space ads.”

“Having officially transacted with Doge for a deal of this magnitude, Geometric Energy Corporation and SpaceX have solidified Doge as a unit of account for lunar business in the space sector,” Reid said in the announcement of the launch.

Marketing possibilities

Space is becoming crowded with marketing opportunities.

Sierra Space purchased 30- and 15-second preroll ads for Elon Musk’s SNL appearance on YouTube, looking to capitalize on Musk’s popularity and public pursuit of space. Musk has used the marketing strategy for his own benefit, having the first car in space take a spin around the globe.

Brands such as Disney, Coca-Cola and Hello Kitty have launched products into space and reached the stratosphere—literally and figuratively—of marketing.

Barry Frey, president and CEO of the Digital Place-based Advertising Association, told Adweek that the stunt will likely find success. “Whatever is run will get so much enhanced value to the brands and the advertisers,” he said. “The audience will come from social amplification.” 

Who will pursue ads in space?

These kinds of ad placements are not for everyone. Ad time can be purchased with tokens that will determine where, how long and how bright the advertisement will be.

It will take some time to see what ads make sense in this new platform. “Not only will metrics have to be developed but also a proper way of vetting ads for taste, environment, etc.,” Frey noted.

Frey thinks messages and ads that can appeal to a global audience will be the ones to generate interest. In other words, don’t expect any local Empire jingles.

“Universal themes would be very important for this universal medium,” he said.

Marketers and advertisers will want to put up messaging that is relative to the context and size of the platform. “It’s high visibility imagery, and it’s a good place to cover those big universal themes brands and companies are behind such as global warming, diversity and social justice.”