WHAT’S UP ⬆️: CPG + Commercialization of Space
Everyone knows we’re in the midst of a (literal) moonshot mission. But don’t be distracted by the hype around Richard Branson vs. Jeff Bezos vs. Elon Musk’s space tourism. Though if you’re an early bird, there’s still time to livestream the lift-off of Branson’s Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed test flight.
Their advancements in commercial space travel are turning the topic of “space” from a niche Velocity topic to a more mainstream “Mass” topic because space travel & tourism always felt like a far off fantasy… today’s launch finally makes space tourism feel like reality.
Everyone is so focused on getting to space… but you are focused on the wrong part of the space race. We know we can send people to space… we’ve been doing that since the ‘60s.
The topic that’s bubbling under the surface & gaining velocity: CPG brands investing in space — product innovations, marketing initiatives, and influencers. While Branson, Bezos, and Musk are talking about getting us to space, the real innovators are focused on what comes next — the more trivial elements of actually being out in space.
Here are a few examples of brands & influencers investing in Space that you should be paying attention to:#1: Estée Lauder: In Sept. 2020, as part of NASA’s low-Earth-orbit commercialization program (which is separate from ISS National Laboratories’ efforts), Estée Lauder sent 10 of its Advanced Night Repair bottles to space in order to be photographed by astronauts. Those assets were used as marketing materials. Estée Lauder Companies said in Sept. 2020 that the bottles would return to Earth this spring and that at least one bottle will be auctioned off later in 2021, with profits donated to charity.
An Estée Lauder spokesperson said “As a beauty industry leader in science and innovation, Estée Lauder is always looking toward the next frontier of skincare and we were inspired by the work NASA is doing to lead space innovation … The response from our consumers was extremely positive, and the brand will continue to look for opportunities in the future to reinforce our beauty leadership and innovation.”
Keep your eye on Estée Lauder Companies… if anyone can keep your skin hydrated while in space, it will be them.
#2: Colgate-Palmolive: Sent an oral care experiment to outer-space in early June in what could be considered “one small step for man, and one big step for the beauty and personal care industry.”
The experiment was aboard Space X’s 22nd supply reload mission headed to the International Space Station. The experiment, one of dozens launched with support from the ISS National Laboratory, is part of a larger effort by both the ISS National Lab and NASA to commercialize space.
Colgate-Palmolive’s experiment centers around learning more about the growth and metabolism of oral biofilms… “What this experiment enables us to do is create new toothpaste and other types of [oral] therapies. [It] could impact 60% of the population who get gum disease. It is a huge opportunity for us to learn more about the formation and the prevention of dental plaque,” said Patricia Verduin, Colgate-Palmolive CTO. “From a brand perspective, we see this as consistent with our brand. People trust Colgate and what [is] a better relationship [to convey to consumers] than sending Colgate up to space? The space program is the ultimate representation of optimism and trust.”
#3 Procter & Gamble: P&G is heading to space — they signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to test laundry solutions on the International Space Station. The two groups began collaborating in August 2020 to develop NASA Tide and plan to work together at least through the end of the decade. The first cargo launch will be in 2022, named Mission PGTide. It will transport the detergent, which will be tested on the stability of its ingredients under microgravity conditions and exposure to radiation. Tide to Go Wipes and Tide to Go Pens will be tested for stain removal performance.
They say this isn’t just a marketing gimmick… The goal is to create ways to clean clothes for continuous human habitation in low Earth orbit and on longer missions for deep space exploration, including Artemis Moon and Mars.
Astronauts wear the same clothes for days, then throw them away in a trash capsule that burns up upon re-entry to Earth, sometimes with space debris dropping into the ocean. Each year, more than 160 pounds of clothing per crew member are transported to the space station.
While not the official partner (yet) Balenciaga is working on their application with their latest NASA collection. First debuted in the luxury brand’s FW21 video game, the capsule revamps traditional astronaut wear — complete with the NASA logo — into jackets, graphic tees, bags, and even socks. The brand’s Space Parka has reinterpreted the classic white astronaut suit into a ripstop puffer jacket you can wear on Earth, complete with multiple cargo pockets, red accents, a carabiner, and a slew of space-themed patches.
Though she’s not a professional astronaut engineer, the 32-year-old civilian space enthusiast is heavily involved in commercial space travel. To her, the new Space Race is about more than getting billionaires like Virgin Galactic’s Sir Richard Branson, Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos or SpaceX’s Elon Musk up above the atmosphere.
“I think it would be very appropriate for me to say I never could have dreamed of this, but that wouldn’t be true… The reality is that I have dreamed of this . . . every single day in detail for the last decade… I’m so grateful for Richard Branson’s vision to democratize access to space, [Humanity] is not just going to be sending engineers to space; we’re going to be sending poets and journalists and communicators and artists and athletes. This is a watershed moment for more people to experience that.”
When she blasts off, Gerardi will be wearing a biomonitoring suit called Astroskin under her gear to monitor how the body reacts to the journey. “This will be the first time we’re collecting data where someone’s wearing it during launch, re-entry and landing,” she explained. She will also be performing an experiment on how fluids react to a confined environment in microgravity — and the results could affect how medicine in syringes is administered in space.
Her social media followers will be tracking her trip — Gerardi has 137,000 on Instagram and 525,000 on TikTok. “Over the years, [my accounts] fully transformed, from aspirational to inspirational,” she said, noting that she often shares her research in an effort to be more inclusive. Before, “There was a feeling that I was on the inside instead of the outside. I’m trying to bring more people along.”
Stay tuned for TikToks from space…
WHAT’S DOWN ⬇️: Ignoring cultural momentum moments like the current space race.
WHAT’S NEXT: Stay tuned for next week’s topic when we dive into the momentum for ESG investing.