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Book Review: Marketing the Moon – The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program

Credit: MIT Press

Marketing the Moon – The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program by David Meerman Scott & Richard Jurek; MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.; $39.95 (hard cover); Feb. 2014.

This is an absolutely marvelous and exceptional read!

The authors, both marketing sages, have written a captivating book that delves into the promotion and public relations campaigns to advance the Apollo program.

In the book’s foreword, former Apollo 17 moonwalker, Eugene Cernan, sets the stage for the book, calling it “a story of the challenges and ultimate success of marketing one of the greatest achievements in American – and world – history.”

What’s so valuable about this book is its retro-fire into history to provide guidance and instruction – as the authors note, a “case study” – for modern-day practitioners. And given the present and perplexing state of astronautics in the United States, this book makes for required bedside reading for today’s spin doctors of space.

From early space-themed television shows, the magnificent Collier’s magazine space series to the Sputnik scare, Life magazine and TV broadcasts of Apollo 11 and other shoot-for-the-Moon missions – the book is a must read…and a must remember tale. It plowed up many of my own space history roots…a time, in my view, when “Tomorrowland” really stood for something.

The contents include looks at NASA brand journalism, the astronauts as celebrities, and what the authors describe as “an unprecedented public relations partnership between NASA and industry.”

The book carries an impressive number of pictures (over 200 color illustrations and 25 black and white illustrations). Each section is sprinkled with great references.

The book’s closing chapter is “So, Where to Now, Columbus?” and closes off with a note that “in essence, the visionaries of the digital generation were also the Apollo generation.”

You’ll find this volume to be a wonderful read, written by two individuals that clearly care about what the past should tells us about pushing forward.

By the way, Scott is obviously a space cadet of the first order. He is thought to be the only person in the world with a lunar module decent engine thrust chamber in his living room. Co-author Jurek is a lifelong space enthusiast and a collector of historic space artifacts, with the world’s largest collection of $2 bills that have flown in space.

A couple of quirky notes to add: The book’s first inside image that spills over two pages is from Japan’s KAGUYA lunar orbiter that relayed HDTV images via NHK (Japan’s national public broadcasting organization) to produce a “Full Earth Rise” sequence. Lastly, the book is printed and bound in China.

Perhaps both are subtle reminders that other nations may well be filling the vacuum void left by those that marketed the Moon on behalf of America.

For more information on this book, go to:

http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/marketing-moon

Also, give a listen to a special podcast, an MIT Press Interview with David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek.

Go to:

EPISODE 60 (MAR. ’14): David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek

http://mitpress.mit.edu/multimedia

By Leonard David

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