January 24, 2020

Credit: Joe the Photographer / Flickr Creative Commons

This article was originally published July 19, 2019.

After Russia sent a man into space, the United States didn’t want to be left behind. But getting a man on the moon wasn’t as easy as just saying we would. David Meerman Scott, a marketing strategist and co-author of the book Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program talks about just what it took — from PR strategies to partnering with Walt Disney — to get enough support for the mission. Without the marketing and media attention, Scott thinks, we couldn’t have landed on the moon.

Three Takeaways:

  • In the 1950s and 60s, the everyday American didn’t have space travel on their mind all the time. NASA, though, needed popular support for a successful mission, so they began to sell the crazy, audacious idea of putting humans on the moon. 
  • NASA didn’t “advertise” the Apollo program in the way we might use the term today. Instead, they distributed astronauts’ head shots (as movie stars used to do) and shared information about the space program with Americans, which came to include live TV and audio.
  • The astronauts became tremendous celebrities, and this was an important aspect of selling the idea of having humans in space. The American people got to know Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, and cared what happened to them.

More reading:

  • Want links to the PDFs of over 40 Apollo 11 press kits? David Meerman Scott has you covered.
  • When Apollo 11 landed on the moon, the whole world stopped to watch. The New York Daily News spoke with Mark Bloom, the Daily News reporter who covered the spacecraft launch in 1969, about the experience of explaining such a seminal event to the public.
  • We haven’t put a human on the moon in 50 years now, but some still have their sights set on returning. But is that the best idea? The New York Times explores what exactly another sojourn on the moon would mean for the astronauts involved.
  • Mars, or the moon? Which is the final frontier, the next place humankind must explore? The Atlantic outlines how Presidents have asked these questions since space travel became a reality in the 1950s.

David Meerman Scott, marketing, moon landing, Apollo 11

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