July 28, 2011

A New Kind of Advertising Targets Viewers in Space

There’s a new-old form of advertising that has been spotted from outer space. Out in the desert in Rachel, Nevada, a familiar old face can be seen from the skies. Colonel Sanders of the KFC fame is embedded in the sand, made from 65,000 1-foot square tiles. What looks like squares of black red and white on earth is actually a gigantic representation of the Colonel himself.

The question is, though, why is this such a big (literally) deal?

As far as KFC is concerned, the company claims in a press release that their giant portrait of Colonel Sanders was to promote KFC’s rebranding in 2006. According to the press release, it is “the world's first brand visible from outer space.”

But, as Alex and James Turnbull of the blog Google Sightseeing points out, the oldest “astrovertisement” is actually a Readymix logo that was carved into the Australian desert in 1965.

It took KFC a mere six days to construct the giant Colonel.

Of course, Readymix and KFC aren’t the only ones branding themselves into the earth’s surface. Apparently Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan created a series of canals in Abu Dhabi’s coastline that spell out his name Hamad.

One would think these are just elaborate evolutions of the ever-mysterious crop circle.

Also referred to as crop formations, when crop circles began to appear is unknown, the documented cases have substantially increased from the 1970s to current times. To date, twenty-six countries have reported approximately ten thousand crop circles, in the last third of the 20th century.

Since the early 1990s the UK arts collective founded by artists Rod Dickinson and John Lundberg named the Circlemakers, have been creating some crop circles in the UK and around the world both as part of their art practice and for commercial clients.

Some crop formations are paid for by companies who use them as advertising.

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Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell