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5 Astrovertisements That Are Outta This World

It seems like every day a new word is coined. Remember when “dope” was used to say something was really cool or when “phat” meant something was awesome? Well, I’ve got another one to throw out there for the masses to enjoy: astrovertisements.

Astrovertisements are advertisements on the Earth’s surface that are large enough to be picked up by satellite imaging (i.e. Google Earth). Marketing isn’t just for the traditional mediums like television, radio, or billboards anymore; ads can now be seen when you grab directions to a relative’s house out of state. You’d think that this style of advertising came out of the increase of satellite imaging, but it’s been around since 1965 (I’m sure Neil Armstrong appreciated being up in space and looking down to see an advertisement for Readymix). Without further ado, I think some pictures are needed to get the full effect.

Readymix astrovertisement

Readymix astrovertisement

Readymix created the first astrovertisment, and it was ‘built’ in an Australian desert in 1965. Obviously, they were hoping to increase their customer base of astronauts and aliens.

Coca-Cola astrovertisement

Coca-Cola astrovertisement

This astrovertisement is made from 70,000 empty Coca-Cola bottles in Arica, Chile and was created to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary in 1986.

Jost Wine astrovertisement

Jost Wine astrovertisement

This picture proves that Jost Vineyard doesn’t solely rely on print advertisements to get their name out to the public. They’re in Nova Scotia and want everyone to know exactly where they’re located.

KFC astrovertisement

KFC astrovertisement

Kentucky Fried Chicken created this astrovertisement in Rachel, Nevada (in the middle of the famed Area 51) in 2006. According to their press release; Colonel Sanders is 87,500 square feet and consists of 65,000 one-foot by one-foot painted tile pieces that were assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It took 24 days (working 24 hours straight) to complete him.

Firefox astrovertisement

Firefox astrovertisement

If fast food and sugary drinks aren’t your fancy, how about the popular Firefox internet provider instead? This astrovertisement was created to celebrate the launch of Firefox version 2 by the Oregon State University Linus Users Group. It took a team of 12 people to stomp down the oats overnight to get the full effect. My guess is it might have been done during finals when they were tired of studying.

Even looking at the roofs of popular stores, you can see how marketers have taken this form of advertising and ran with it. For example, I bet you can’t guess that this is a Target store from a bird’s eye perspective. Museums are jumping on the satellite imaging craze too; North Carolina Museum of Art isn’t left out, either. This type of advertisement has many people scratching their heads wondering who exactly these companies are hoping to attract. It has created buzz for these companies, so I guess the shock value is working on some level. Who knows if astrovertisements will continue to take off or if they’ll become a thing of the past…

Do you find any of these “dope”, “phat” or “da bomb”? Have you come across any other astrovertisements in your travels? Sound off below!

These astrovertisements (and more) can be found on the NPR blog and Google Sightseeing.


Amy Swanson

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ content developers and social media coordinators. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can connect with Amy on

Comments

  1. Peemo

    Nothing predates the astrovertising like the Nazca Lines in Peru.

    Google it, humans!

    • amy

      Okay, those are awesome!! I had no idea they even existed, thanks for the head’s up :)

  2. JPorretto

    That target one is “da bomb”! Specifically, it looks like its made for A bomb. If I was a fighter jet pilot, that would look awfully tempting =)

    Nice post Amy, this stuff is crazy cool.

    • amy

      Thanks Jeff, it was a lot of fun researching! I had never thought about fighter jet pilots feeling the urge to get a bull’s eye on a Target roof… until now. Hahahaha

  3. Cybernetic SAM

    This is a great post! I had no idea they did this! This type of advertisement is neat but also frustrating. By that it marvels me that we can mark and make such scapes of visual marvel, but throughout history we have seen crop circles, hieroglyphs, cave drawing mountain and boulder etchings left by our ancestors. And this is the active mark we want species to know us by for centuries to come? I don’t know about you but I don’t want to mark history by having people associate this generation or this frame of time with KFC… It is neat we have the capability, but I think we should use this ability to do unique and inspiring art. This is another case I feel the advertisement biz takes one step to far over the line. Great post!

    • amy

      You’re not alone in feeling frustrated by people associating “this generation or this frame of time with KFC”. A lot of comments from other blog posts said the same thing; we don’t want future generations to think that we were obsessed with Colonel Sanders or fried chicken.

      I’m hoping that this is just a publicity stunt and after a period of time, KFC will take it down. However, I think my optimism may be short-lived and they may never take it down.

      Thanks for reading and commenting though :) Much appreciated!!

  4. joel

    i buy things for reasons that have nothing to do with whether i need items or not. therefore, i have already purchased many many readymixes.

    • amy

      I also go through spurts where I buy everything in sight without thinking while other times I over-analyze everything (typically, right after I get my bank statement :P).

      Thank you for reading and commenting Joel!

  5. Amanda

    Da bomb post Amy! I also didn’t know that they did this. =) I’m just left wondering about this: If you’re high enough in the air to see one of those–you probably have other (and more important) things going on besides thinking about stopping by your local Target or KFC…like flying to your vacation home, etc. lol

    • amy

      I completely agree with you Amanda, I think the main reason why companies are using this style of advertising is for the publicity. Because, I mean who wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurant or drink a cola that has an advertisement that can be seen from space? ;) It certainly isn’t a huge factor for me, but to some people I guess it could be.

  6. Bret Bonnet

    My question is… How do you know when you’re done?

    I mean… Are these people given temporary access to satellite surveillance so they can monitor their progress/get the full effect?

    People who have the free time to do this scare me.

    PS. My backyard is for rent if anyone wants to put a giant middle finger that can be seen from outer space.

    • amy

      There’s a downside and an upside to producing one of these advertisements:

      Downside: You have no idea when a satellite will be taking a picture of that area. Could be next week, maybe 3 years from now.

      Upside: Google Earth doesn’t routinely update their satellite images, so even if Colonel Sanders is taken down in 2 weeks that picture may remain on Google Earth for the next three years.

      To answer your question, I’d assume they would layout the advertisement first and then follow that outline explicitly on the ground.

      I bet you could put an ad on craigslist.com and find a taker for your backyard ;) Good luck!

  7. Jen

    This is an awesome post Amy! I’m with Sam, I had no idea this was even real. It’s mind blowing! If I was flying over a giant Coca Cola Sign made of bottles in the side of a mountain, I would buy a Coke for the sheer fact they thought of doing something so cool.

    This new information is going to make my obsession with Google Maps so much more intense. Sweet. LOL! :)

    • amy

      Aww, thanks Jen :)

      There’s a ton of examples out there to check out, I merely scratched the surface. LOL.

      Happy surfing!

  8. Jenna Markowski

    Awesome post, Amy! Like so many others, I had no idea that this was even a thing that marketers were doing! While I think it’s pretty cool, it also freaks me out. Why? I’m not really sure. Probably because it makes me feel like Google is always watching, haha. ;)

    • amy

      Haha, I think Google actually is always watching… at least what you search and surf online. They’re just a bunch of creepers, never interacting just watching. ::shudder:: ;)

      Happy to spread the paranoia LOL

  9. Jill Tooley

    I like the Firefox and Coca-Cola examples the best. For some reason, the fact that the Firefox astrovertisement was accomplished by oat-stomping makes it THAT much cooler to me. ;)

    Here is another article with some cool views in it (some ad-related, some not).

    Someone seriously needs to take Bret’s offer. A middle finger that can be seen from the air? Priceless.

    • amy

      That article you posted is awesome! The Dallas, Texas example where the buildings look like they’re slanting is so weird.

      I knew that the United Center had their name on their roof, but it’s interesting to see that other companies have done this also. Thanks for posting!

  10. Joseph Giorgi

    Very interesting topic, Amy! :D I had no idea that so many companies were doing this. Good point though about “wondering who exactly these companies are hoping to attract.” Still, astrovertising is such a unique approach to marketing that we really have to marvel at the effort that goes into it.

    I’d have to say that the Firefox “astrovert” is my favorite — it basically looks like a crop circle. So cool!

    • amy

      Thanks Joe :) It was a fun blog to write and research, that’s for sure! As someone who needs to have a map before traveling anywhere, I’m a google maps fanatic. I noticed that Target stores had their logo on their roofs and then NPR’s blog came out and it was mind-blowing!!

      I think Firefox has taken the lead in votes for best “astrovertisment”, better luck next time Ready-mix LOL

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