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Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program Hardcover – February 28, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


Marketing the Moon is a fascinating look at how NASA and its partners brought the Moon to the world's living rooms. Apollo's revered place in the collective imagination stems, in large part, from the efforts detailed in this book.

(Fritz Johnston, Vice President, Brand and Advertising, The Boeing Company)

Don't think for a moment that NASA masterminded a PR campaign that brought the Apollo missions into our living rooms. Just like everything else about the Moon program, how -- and how much -- to share Apollo with the public was a learn-as-you-go affair that involved not only NASA's public affairs office but top NASA managers and even astronauts. As this excellent and informative book details, even the idea of live television from the Moon was a matter of heated debate, and there were moments when it might've gone the other way. Thank heaven it didn't: When humans first voyaged to the moon, they took the world along.

(Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon)

To call the Apollo Program the greatest marketing exploit of the 20th century is not hyperbole, but, as David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek show us, simply a statement of fact. Thanks to this thorough and detailed account, we can better understand not just the talent and dedication of the Mad Men-era professionals who sold the Moon to a global public, but also the larger transformation of statecraft into stagecraft, and the enduring and irreversible transformation of the public sphere into an enterprise of image creation, and manipulation.

(Nicholas de Monchaux, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo)

We have long known that NASA mobilized a broad public relations campaign supporting the Apollo program of the 1960s. We have not known until now, with the publication of Marketing the Moon by David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek, the details of the campaign. Scott and Jurek offer a compelling account of these great efforts, informed by interviews with many of the participants, and well-illustrated by unique imagery and documents.

(Roger D. Launius, Senior Curator, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)

President Kennedy hoped the nation would succeed in sending a man into space and landing on the Moon. Though he did not live to see it happen, his dream was fulfilled. David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek's Marketing the Moon shows us in vivid detail what it took to make this happen. This is one of the great stories of the 20th century.

(Alan Brinkley, Allan Nevins Professor of American History, Columbia University)

A well-written look at how NASA, industry, and the media covered the Apollo missions..... Marketing the Moon provides a fascinating look at the marketing of humanity's first missions to the Moon, as well as a reminder that space exploration, including first-of-their-kind missions to other worlds in our solar system, do not sell themselves.

(Jeff Foust The Space Review)

The book tells an entertaining and engaging story, but there's a lot to learn from here, as well...And it's a beautiful book. Lavishly illustrated, it's a book for the coffee table, the office desk, the lobby. Full-page illustrations; covers and excerpts of glossy magazines from the era, as well as full-page 'asides' on related topics: Disney's Tomorrowland; the '50s sci-fi television series Space Patrol; Soviet Russian efforts to inspire with elaborate futuristic space films of their own. And much more...The text boxes and asides are just as fascinating and informative as the main narrative itself. And it's impeccably researched: from how reporters with low-budget media improvised launch coverage, to how contractors ingeniously pioneered new methods of colour photography. The authors leave no stone unturned - not even moon rocks, whose complicated fate in international diplomacy they chronicle as well. Those with an interest in marketing and complex project management will find the book particularly interesting, but it's accessible for the general public and will enthrall any space enthusiast.


The book is a highly illustrated tour-de-force of the particular way government and industry grabbed the attention of the media and, at first without planning it, wooed the public and seduced print and electronic news channels to get behind the biggest message of the day.

(David Baker Spaceflight)

Marketing the Moon records elegantly and precisely such details, but it tells an important and generally understated sociological story of how the Apollo program changed the way we see the world in a different sense too: it introduced new expectations of 'live television', of unedited audio transcripts, or direct access to experts and officials. All this openness was remarkable in the context of a space program launched in the shadow of the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs invasion and driven by the military's need to 'beat the Russians'.

(The Philosopher)

U.S. government goes "Mad Men" on Apollo, gets it right.

(Tyler Cohen New York Times Magazine)

Scott and Jurek devote a whole chapter of "Marketing the Moon" -- which, it should be noted, overflows with beautiful photographs, drawings, and illustrations -- to the broadcast and reporting of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The main thing, they show, was that it was live -- and that its liveness embodied, in itself, the bravery and risk of the mission. Gene Cernan, the last astronaut to walk on the moon, describes it this way: "We didn't say, 'We'll tell you about it in two weeks.' We took you with us. The power of television is unbelievable. That's what television does. What you are seeing is happening at this instant. … [T]he thing that brought so much prestige to this country is that every launch, every landing on the Moon, and every walk on the Moon was given freely to the world in real time. We didn't doctor up the movie, didn't edit anything out; what was said was said." CBS covered the Apollo 11 landing for thirty-two continuous hours; it set up special screens in Central Park so that people could watch in a crowd. Ninety-four per cent of TV-owning American households tuned in. Without television, the moon landing would have been a merely impressive achievement -- an expensive stunt, to the cynical. Instead, seen live, unedited, and everywhere, it became a genuine experience of global intimacy.

(Joshua Rothman The New Yorker)

Something profound had changed since the early days of the heroic, untouchable space heroes. In Marketing the Moon, David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek do a masterful job defining that something and placing it within a much broader exploration of how the U.S. space program acquired such mythic status in the first place -- before it abruptly, sadly crumbled away. Along the way, the authors achieve something I doubted was possible: They provide fresh and important insights into the Apollo program, nearly half a century after the fact.

(Corey S. Powell American Scientist)

If you're interested in the public affairs side of the Apollo era, I'd highly recommend Marketing the Moon. It dives into one of the least often discussed but vitally important aspects of bringing a lunar mission from concept to reality.

(Amy Shira Teitel Popular Science)

I'd like to sing the praises of large-format, image-heavy historical books that are creative in approach and gorgeous to peruse.... As a gift for anyone who's interested in space or the history of advertising, Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program by David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek) will fascinate. The book chronicles the extensive effort made to get the Apollo program favorable press coverage, and to explain the science behind the effort to the public. (I ran images of two tracking wheels, distributed to press to provide technical context for the missions, on this blog in May.) Its pages include many reproductions of materials from press kits, television broadcasts, and advertisements.

(Rebecca Onion Slate)

Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program is a comprehensive look at the successes and the challenges of launching a massive marketing program. Marketing and communication managers will find countless insights into the pitfalls as well as the rewards of creating and nurturing their own initiatives…

(Journal of Product & Brand Management)

About the Author

David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist and the author of three bestselling books, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Real-Time Marketing, and Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. He lives in Lexington, Massachuetts.

Richard Jurek has worked as a marketing and public relations executive for more than twenty years. He lives in Chicago.

Gene Cernan is a retired United States Navy officer and a former NASA astronaut. He has been into space three times: as pilot of Gemini 9, as lunar module pilot of Apollo 10, and as commander of Apollo 17, the final Apollo lunar landing. He was the last man to set foot on the moon.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (February 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262026961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262026963
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gary Milgrom on March 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This terrific book is both entertaining and informative. Beginning with the formation of NASA the authors explain how the agency found its voice, how the decision was made to be honest and transparent and how the writers thought of themselves as reporters instead of public relations people ("We put out news releases, not press releases.")

The role of television, arguably the most important aspect of marketing the flights, is handled well by explaining both the political and technical challenges of the time. And the topic of astronauts as celebrities is explored at depth with surprising conclusions.

The book contains wonderful photos of commercial ads, technical manuals and marketing pieces from NASA and their contractors during this time. These items, many from the authors' personal collections, are a highlight of the book. There are also many interesting personal anecdotes in the book, from the reasons Paul Haney quit his job to an incident involving Neil Armstrong's parents which reveals much about Neil himself.

We all know how the story ends - the public and media lost interest rapidly after the first landing, missions were cancelled and we haven't returned to the moon since Apollo. This was actually a failure of marketing by NASA to keep the public engaged, and this aspect of the program is covered as well.

I couldn't put the book down. Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Keith Jennings on March 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
To fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the moon, return him safely to earth and do it by the end of the decade, NASA organized teams into three core disciplines: life preservation, propulsion and navigation.

But there was actually a fourth discipline: storytelling. And that story has not been adequately told until this book.

"Marketing the Moon" tells the story of NASA’s storytellers — how a handful of men fought to allow public access to this historic era of space exploration.

This book is as much a coffee table book as it is a terrific read. It offers scores of rare and vintage photos on nearly every page. And the tug-of-war between NASA’s public affairs team and its scientists, aviators and technicians offers an engaging narrative.

I recommend this book for space enthusiasts, history buffs and marketing practitioners. Given I’m all three, it’s one of my favorite books in years.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Buyer on March 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A departure from his usual social media and digital flight pattern, Scott's "Marketing the Moon" tells the story of how NASA not only put the first man on the moon, but pioneered the use of brand journalism, product placement, and real-time storytelling with the epitome of transparency and authenticity.

For the space enthusiasts and sci-fi cult-followers who create and follow the GIFs and memes branded with "Star Wars", "Space Odyssey", and "Star Trek", "Marketing the Moon" captures the challenges and the ultimate success of marketing one of the greatest achievements in American history as noted in the foreword written by Captain Eugene A. Cernan, the NASA astronaut who became the 11th person to walk on the Moon and "the last man on the Moon".

Scott and Richard Jurek did an incredible job at curating the historical data of how NASA pioneered brand journalism and real time public relations in this one-of-a-kind time-capsule-like book filled with nostalgic marketing memorabilia.

I loved looking at NASA's original press kits and memos from the Public Information Officer requesting the astronauts conversations in space not be edited!

Marketing the Moon is a collector's item whether you are a Star Wars fan or PR and marketing PRO.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gilbert Huey on March 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program chronicles the birth, rise and fall of America's ambitious Moon Shot program. The debate as to what originally inspired us to reach for and attain such a monumental goal and then disregard it like yesterday's trash has been raging for nearly half a century. We all know there are myriad legitimate explanations. Marketing the Moon approaches the subject from a fresh and important perspective. It is inconceivable that with the hundreds of space books published since Gene Cernan stepped back into Challenger more than four decades ago, that none of them have focused on the marketing aspects of Apollo. Obviously marketing played a seminal role as this book commendably conveys.

The down side to reading the book is that we are reminded of squandered and lost opportunities. The golden age of American space exploration appears to be behind us. I don't fully agree with some reviewers that America's loss of interest in Project Apollo specifically and the space program in general was a result of NASA's marketing failure. The unfortunate fact is the general public has negligible interest in space travel. It was not possible for NASA to sustain the national and international media frenzy associated with Apollo 11.

It is apparent that Jurek and Scott are not only gifted writers, but are also knowledgeable and devoted fans of our space program. Rare and prized items from their extensive personal collections are featured throughout the book. I learned so much from Marketing the Moon and it was an absolute pleasure to read. Highly, highly recommended!
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