It’s nearly impossible to escape ads. They’re on our televisions, computers and some people would even like to see them in space. One of the world’s largest corporations was also considering the possibility of promoting its product in the sky at one point.
Soft-drink giant PepsiCo took interest in Russia-based Startrocket, a company claiming to offer brands the chance to display billboard-style ads in the sky using mini-satellites.
The two companies teamed up for an “exploratory test” of stratosphere advertisements geared towards promoting its Adrenaline Rush energy drink.
The startup says it will use these satellites to project companies’ logos into low-earth orbit.
The company will achieve this effect by sending clusters of CubeSats, a type of miniature satellite, into the atmosphere to project a message or logo through Mylar sails that reflect sunlight.
StartRocket says it’s successfully tested the technology via a helium balloon that was sent into the stratosphere equipped with one of the reflectors.
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“We are creating a media – the orbital display – with potential audience coverage of 7 billion people on the planet,” reads the company website.
The website also goes on to say that its web of reflective CubeSats could be used for advertising and information services as well as for governmental use during “catastrophical emergencies.”
The startup says this system of satellites would orbit Earth from about 400-500 kilometers and would display three to four messages per day.
However, when the plans hit social media – here on earth – there was an outpouring of anger. With reactions from Twitter users ranging from fears of pollution in space to a dystopia brought to life.
@PepsiCo Why would you even consider this? Isn’t there enough light pollution preventing people from discovering the wonders of the night sky without your sub-‘Blade Runner’ nonsense?https://t.co/YPUsIYXVct
— Mark S Maquisard 🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺 (@FanaticRealist) April 16, 2019
Welcome to the nightmare dystopia that is advertisements in the night sky.
I remember a Judge Dredd comic where ads were projected on the moon.
If this happens, I will develop my own rockets to shoot them down.https://t.co/ehmvQjcnkt
— Ed McDonald (@EdMcDonaldTFK) April 16, 2019
Shortly after the backlash, PepsiCo said that while its Russian subsidiary did agree to the partnership for a test, it claimed there were no plans to complete the project going forward.
While Pepsi may have put its space advertisement plans on ice for now, Startrocket is still hoping to complete the first test launch of its orbital tech system in 2021 and according to its website will charge brands $200,000 for eight hours of advertising time.