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Larger-than-life astronaut stars on Olay float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Olay's first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float, titled "Her Future is STEM-sational,” features a larger-than-life astronaut and helmet as a nod to the skincare brand’s #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign.
Olay's first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float, titled "Her Future is STEM-sational,” features a larger-than-life astronaut and helmet as a nod to the skincare brand’s #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign.
(Image: © Olay)

If she could stand, the towering astronaut on Olay's first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float would need a rocket about the same size as the tallest skyscraper in New York City.

The skincare company hopes her reach is even larger.

A follow-up to Olay's first Super Bowl commercial, which in February kicked off the brand's #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign with a 30-second spot that featured former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, the "Her Future is STEM-sational" float is intended to encourage women all over the world to "Face Anything."

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"Last year, Olay announced our brand purpose to make space for women in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] during the Super Bowl, one of advertising's biggest moments, because we wanted that message to reach as many consumers as possible," Chris Heiert, senior vice president of Olay, said in a statement. "As we continue our mission to face the STEM gap, we saw the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as another great, large scale opportunity to spread the message that women can face anything, and that we are here to support them in doing so." 

The female astronaut on Olay’s 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float wears a jacket with mission patches that read "Women in STEM," symbolizing the brand's 10-year goal to help double the number of women in STEM, and triple the number of multicultural women in the science and technology fields.  (Image credit: Olay)

In September 2020, Olay announced its 10-year goal to help double the number of women in STEM, and triple the number of multicultural women in the science and technology fields. The company is highlighting that commitment with its float's depiction of a woman, clad in a space-themed bomber jacket, as a nod to its #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign.

In addition to the female astronaut and her helmet, Olay's "Her Future is STEM-sational" float also features a double helix, a robotic arm, mathematical symbols and examples of computer code, among other representations of the STEM areas of study. An Olay jar ties together the float's various elements as a symbol of the company's 60 years of research and development.

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Olay's space-themed 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float is intended to encourage women all over the world to "Face Anything."  (Image credit: Olay)

"This out of this world float will entertain millions of spectators nationwide as it inspires, educates and empowers a new generation to follow in these important STEM fields," said Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "We are thrilled to welcome Olay to the magical roster of this year's Thanksgiving celebration."

Unlike past parades, when large crowds of spectators lined the event's traditional 2.5-mile (4-km) route through the streets of Manhattan, this year the oversize character balloons, floats and performances will be staged in front of Macy's flagship store on 34th Street for a national television special on NBC. This change will still allow millions of New Yorkers and the nation to safely experience the spectacle from the comforts of their homes in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Astronaut Snoopy balloon, seen here during a test flight in 2019, was modeled after NASA's Orion Crew Survival System that Artemis crews will wear to the moon.  (Image credit: Olay)

The parade will air on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon in all U.S. time zones. Verizon will also livestream the parade on its Twitter and YouTube channels from 9 a.m. to noon EST (1400 to 1700 GMT), with exclusive camera views and 360-degree coverage.

In addition to Olay's astronaut, the parade will also mark the return of another larger-than-life spacesuited star: Astronaut Snoopy. The 49-foot-tall (15-m) balloon, which made its debut in 2019, honors the 50th anniversary of the Apollo lunar landings and NASA's plans for Artemis missions to the moon. Snoopy is outfitted in an Artemis-style bright orange spacesuit adorned with the space agency's logo.

Robert Pearlman is a Space.com contributing writer and the editor of collectSPACE.com, a Space.com partner site and the leading space history news publication. Follow collectSPACE on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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