How Were the Apollo Missions Made Possible?

I was in elementary school during the Apollo missions.

I remember being eight years old and they wheeled a black-and-white television into my classroom and we could see parts of the mission. It was amazing. And it stuck with me.  The whole Apollo thing, I really geeked out about it. I would go home and watch it on television, I thought it was really interesting stuff.

And then by 1972 it was done.You know, we sent 12 humans to the surface of the moon, and after, with Apollo 17, the last mission in 1972, it was done.

Marketing the moon

The public enthusiasm and support was unprecedented for the Apollo missions.

We have yet to do anything remotely similar to that with human space travel. 45 years ago we sent humans to the moon, and the power of the guidance computer on the lunar module was 1/1000000th of my iPhone. It was nutty, and we were able to accomplish that.

How in the world did we Americans convince ourselves that we should spend 2% of our workforce and 4% of our budget for an entire decade to put 12 humans on the surface of the moon, it seems crazy right?

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What Does The Moon Landing Have To Do With Product Integration?

Turns out it was a marketing thing. The marketing of the Apollo program was just as important as the science behind the Apollo program.

Marketing the moon

The marketing of the Apollo program was just as important as the science behind the missions.

Because without marketing and public relations, we never would’ve been able to do it. It was some decisions that were made in the 60s about how to involve the American people in this. The air to ground transmission was all freely available. When Apollo 13  was in trouble, you could listen to it live, there was no censorship.

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Hundreds of Contractors Were Involved In the Space Program

There were hundreds of contractors that were involved in the space program, like Boeing, Raytheon, and IBM. Every single one of them used the Apollo program as part of their marketing tactics.

marketing the moon

NASA was using hundreds of marketers from partner companies to promote the Apollo missions.

Now this was really clever. It meant that NASA was actually using all of the marketing people from those hundreds of contractors as subcontractor marketers to promote the program. Every one of those companies, and it wasn’t just B2B companies like IBM and Raytheon, but also consumer products, pens and Hasselblad cameras, Omega watches and all the products and services that were used,  became a product that their association with Apollo was marketed. It became a really fascinating thing for me to study.

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Marketing the Moon

I wrote this book called Marketing the Moon with Rich Jurek, my co-author, and Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, wrote the forward to the book. It’s been a really fun project, it’s now in production as a film and will be coming out around the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 the first lunar landing which will be in 2019.

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