Jan 18, 2011 at 02:41 PM
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Could Corporate Sponsorship Fund Mission To Mars? Scientist Thinks So.

Could the first trip to the Red Planet be brought to you by Coca-Cola? Rhawn Joseph, a scientist with the Brain Research Laboratory in California, is exploring the idea that corporate sponsorship could be used to fund the estimated $150 billion needed to make a mission to Mars happen.

Here's an excerpt from Joseph's piece in the most recent edition of the Journal of Cosmology:

"It is estimated that $10 billion a year can be raised by clever marketing and advertising thereby generating public awareness and enthusiasm, and through the sale of Mars' merchandise ranging from toys to clothing. With clever marketing and advertising and the subsequent increase in public interest, between $30 billion to $90 billion can be raised through corporate sponsorships, and an additional $1 billion a year through individual sponsorships. The sale of "naming rights" to Mars landing craft, the Mars Colony, etc., would yield an estimated $30 billion. Television broadcasting rights would bring in an estimated $30 billion. This comes to a total of up to $160 billion, and does not include the sale of Mars' real estate and mineral rights and other commercial ventures."

“What kind of brand would be enhanced by branding this kind of adventure? Brands about discovery, exploration, courage, and risk-taking would be the best fit for something like this," former chief creative officer at Ogilvy & Mather, Brian Collins told FoxNews.com. “Brands willing to fit on the adventure side of the equation. But you always have to frame it against, ‘what happens if something goes wrong?’”

Joseph goes on to draw comparisons to the big budges that brands spend on sports marketing, Hollywood and even reality television in making his case for corporate sponsorship. Under his plan, exclusive sponsorships would range from $1 billion to $10 billion depending on the product category, with use of the Mission to Mars marks defended vigorously. Joseph even draws a direct comparison to the IOC's Olympics model of defending exclusivity.

Not leaving any stone unturned, Joseph goes on to make the case for naming rights.

"Since corporations are willing to pay up to $400 million to have their name on a single stadium located in a single city and with limited national and world wide exposure, and on a structure which will quickly become forgotten and insignificant in the annals of history, it can be predicted they would be willing to pay billions for "naming rights" to Mars landing craft or the Mars base camp or colony as their names will go down in history and become famous world wide," Joseph writes. "Therefore, naming rights will be auctioned to corporations who will bid against one another to have the Mars Landing Crafts , Colonies, Base Camps and vehicles named after their companies (e.g. the Google Mars Express, the Microsoft Mars Lander) with bidding starting at $10 billion dollars.

How out there is the idea? The budget may be a little far fetched at the moment, but the case Joseph makes for sponsorship is, if nothing else, an interesting read. Thoughts?

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