It has been 50 years since Neil Armstrong uttered the historic words “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as the world watched with bated breath. Back in 1969, millions were riveted and jubilant when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
Naturally, marketers saw an opportunity and jumped at a chance to capitalise on the excitement. From products such as televisions, cars, cereal, to a once famous powdered drink called Tang, products marketed around the moon landings were the hottest fads for several years.
Today in 2019, marketers are at it again. The build-up towards the 50th anniversary saw countless lunar landing themed products and tributes resurface. From an unbelievably priced US$34,000 limited edition Omega Speedmaster moon-themed wristwatch, which is an homage to Buzz Aldrin, to a revival of the long thought lost Budweiser Discovery Reserve recipe that first appeared in 1960.
Other moon themed products that have popped up recently include a playful NASA Apollo 11 lunar lander LEGO set, purple Marshmallow Moon Oreo cookies by Nabisco, and let’s not forget the hundreds of new custom t-shirts featuring Neil Armstrong’s iconic quote.
Some brands take genuine pride at having been part of the first moon landing. Back in 1969, both Omega and Fisher Space Pen Co. were quick to promote their Apollo 11 connections with media and advertising campaigns, as were NASA contractors like Boeing and General Electric. Stouffer were more than happy to let everyone know that they provided the food for the Apollo 11 crew. Even today, the Nestle-owned company is garnering media attention by sharing some of their recipes from 1969.
However, brands that had no direct involvement weren’t just going to sit back and let the opportunity pass. In 1969, Zippo released a lighter saluting the Apollo 11 mission and its astronauts. A half-century later, Zippo has sold out of the 14,000 limited edition lighters released in tribute to the anniversary, priced at US$100 each.
Since the moon landings, public interest in space travel has waxed and waned. Truthfully, there has been nothing of notable interest that happened in the 50 years between then and now that warrants any particular attention. However, the 50th anniversary of the lunar landings have brought with it renewed interest.
With NASA’s plans to send astronauts back to the moon by 2024 and to Mars in the 2030s, the hype is building once more and companies from around the world are at the ready to contribute the best products they have in order to make their own mark in history.