Space: Marketing's Final Frontier

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Hollywood has long tapped into the world's interest in space, but now, industries from beauty and fashion to design and music are following suit, opening up massive opportunities for ad agencies and brands, according to a new Sparks & Honey culture report.

"With our system, we have observed a lot of signals around space and we started looking at this period of time between now and 2035 as we gear up to go to Mars and as billionaires start to putting billions of dollars in the industry—it's a shift we haven't seen in 30 years, so we started dissecting it and thinking about the amount of innovation that will be created," says Sparks & Honey Founder and CEO Terry Young.

The report, which took about three months to complete, includes Sparks & Honey's own survey of 1,000 people in the U.S. between 18-and-65 years old, along with in-depth research and insights from former astronauts, space consultants, NASA, space startups and more.

Through the research, Sparks & Honey found that 36 percent of Americans are more likely to buy a product if it was inspired or created by technology developed for outer space exploration. A combined $4.2 billion in venture capital investment has poured into Space 2.0 ventures in the last two years and astronaut applications are up three times this year compared to NASA's last call for new hires in 2011, the report states.

"The opportunity is immense and it's undervalued by many businesses, brands and agencies today because they can't wrap their heads around the opportunities," says Young.

For example, satellites can be used from a business standpoint in a number of ways, such as giving retailers the ability to measure store health and helping companies grow crops or predict disasters. According to the report, Orbital Insight analyzes satellite imagery with A.I. to observe the health of over 100 national retailers by counting the cars in the parking lots. More than 6,200 small satellites, which cost about as much to launch as a new app, are expected to go into orbit in the next 10 years, the report adds.

Brands, like GlamGlow and Milk Makeup, are also tapping into space by using actual meteorite powder, which is rich in minerals, in its products.

"Space in itself is a brand," says Young, "and it's missing the beautiful storytelling that we do in advertising and it's yearning for specialists to come in and build that narrative."

Young says he believes agencies will begin hiring specialists and/or developing dedicated space practices to tap into the growing market and help clients figure it out.

Some other key findings from the report include nearly half (47 percent) of Americans rank NASA as the most trusted institution out of media, organized religion, government organizations and nonprofits.

Also, 69 percent of Americans believe we should continue to explore space so we can live on another planet one day. "We're in a very polarizing time right now politically," says Sparks & Honey Cultural Strategist Eve Pollet. "What 69 percent of Americans are agreeing on anything today?" She adds that when it comes to space, things like religion and skin color don't matter – everyone is on board.

Pollet says that looking into space will provide new vantage points for agencies and brands to solve business problems. "Brands are trying to lean into a topic that unites people and builds communities and space is so fertile for that because it's about exploring and researching," she says. "We should get out of our planet to solve some problems today and there's so much more innovation when we think about getting to that next point together."

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