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How brands are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

Posted by Zoe McFarland on 19th July 2019

How brands are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

Whether you believe the moon landing happened or you remain a sceptic, the 50th anniversary of the prodigious event fell this week. The Apollo 11 launch occurred on 16th July 1969 and the landing 20th July 1969.

PR for the historic moment was a feat in itself. Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program calls it, “the first positive viral event that captured the world’s attention.”

Before Apollo 11, NASA kept most of its missions under wraps but as the agency developed it started to discuss things more openly and shared launch times so people could watch rockets ascend. Then in the 1969’s it brought the Eagle’s blast-off into people’s living rooms.

The technology for airing live lunar missions, such as small cameras for spaceflight, didn’t yet exist, but the NASA comms team argued that bringing the live story to an international audience was just as important as the achievement itself. This resulted in an estimated 530 million people watching Neil Armstrong and hearing him say, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

50 years on, several brands are taking this momentous moon landing milestone as an opportunity to celebrate and promote their part in the Apollo 11 mission.

  • Lego honoured the event with a life-sized recreation of the spacesuits worn by the Apollo astronauts. Including such detail as the reflection of the moon’s surface in the visor, it took 300 hours and 30,000 bricks to complete! In addition, last month it also launched the NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander building set, culminating two PR peaks.
  • Hasselblad is commemorating being the first camera on the moon and is showcasing some of the beautiful photos that were taken with it. When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, the Hasselblad Data Camera contained specially formulated thin-base Kodak film strapped to his chest.
  • Nissan has released a new ad celebrating how far its technology has come, comparing driving the Nissan Qashqai to the enjoyment of skateboarding on the moon.
  • Master Replicas Group has developed a life-size 3D printed replica of Buzz Aldrin’s boot print as a collectible for enthusiasts.
  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center (where Apollo 11 lifted off from) are hosting a world record attempt for the most model rockets launched simultaneously from a single location.
  • Omega has announced a new watch, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Edition. The new ‘Moonshine Gold’ edition commemorates the timepiece given to the astronauts and Richard Nixon in 1969.
  •  The Clangers (my Dad was big fan of the now cult-status classic of British children’s animation) will also be celebrating its 50th anniversary alongside the moon landing with an exclusive screening and launch of a new series.
  • Our client Poly is also celebrating. The first words of Commander Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the moon were transmitted through a Plantronics MS50 headset. It was initially supplied to commercial airline pilots in 1962 before being implanted into astronaut helmets, taking the team just 11 days to develop unique microphone and audio features for space.

If you remember the moon landing or are getting involved in a project to mark the 50th anniversary then be sure to share this with NASA, The Guardian and join the #apollo50 conversation on Twitter.

Zoe McFarland

Zoe has over six years’ B2B technology PR experience across a variety of sectors, including artificial intelligence, cyber security, IT software, marketing technology, 3D printing and Unified Communications. With a flair for media relationships, Zoe has also honed her skills in other complementary areas, including international agency network management, events co-ordination and product launches. Zoe prides herself on delivering stand-out results for clients and immerses herself in their businesses to make sure the right message gets to the right media. Always on top of the latest trends, Zoe has a love for news-jacking and a passion for injecting new ideas for maximum campaign impact. Zoe is also the office panda enthusiast – not that it would take you long to notice once you see her desk!