Adplacement is very important. Advertisers pay more for their ads to be shown"above the fold" - that is, on the top half of a newspaper, or in theimmediately-viewed part of a web page.
How much would you pay foryour ad to be shown "above the atmosphere" - at the edge of space? Itturns out that there is a company that can do just that.
JP Aerospace is currentlylining up customers for their next flight in April. Your advertisement will becarried aloft to 100,000 feet - and photographed against the boundary betweenthe Earth and outer space.
JP Aerospace has thetechnology; they flew a series of "PongSat"missions that provided an opportunity for thousands of students to create tiny ping-pongball-sized experiments. To date, more than 1800 PongSats have flown to theedge of space. The USAF has also worked with them to explore the idea of near-spacemaneuvering vehicles.
You might be disappointed,however, to learn that your "space billboard" is only the size of abusiness card. Photographed properly, it still looks like space tourists mightsee it on the way up.
Science fiction writershave worked with the idea of advertisements carried aloft, or projected on toclouds, so they could be seen by millions. Jules Verne wrote about atmosphericadvertising, ads reflected from the clouds, in 1889.
On a lighter note, sciencefiction writer Alan Nelson wrote about the perils of having full-sizeadvertisements that could actually be flown high, and still be seen from Earth.In his 1953 short story Soap Opera, he created the idea of a kind ofpermanent sky-writing. Unfortunately, the letters didn't stay up as long as youmight hope:
AutomaticallySpurgle gazed up too. The letters, still firm, still strong and perfectlyformed, seemed to be settling earthward, undisturbed by the brisk breeze thatscudded across the field...
Silently the three walkedover to the slogan. Spurgle kicked at the letter G... It was a monstrous whitething, ten feet thick, half a city block long, composed of a flexible elasticsubstance that resembled something between jello and foam rubber...
(Read more about permanentskywriting)
Maybe it's better that JPAeronautics not clutter up the sky with enormous ads. Business card-sized willbe just fine, thank you.
Read more about video ads at theedge of space.
(This Science Fiction inthe News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meetsfiction.)
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Bill Christensen is the founder and editor of Technovelgy, a website dedicated to cataloguing the inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers. Bill is a dedicated reader of science fiction with a passion about science and the history of ideas. For 10 years, he worked as writer creating technical documentation for large companies such as Ford, Unisys and Northern Telecom and currently works to found and maintain large websites. You can see Bill's latest project on Twitter.