Dont miss our awards deadlines

‘It’s short-sighted to think ads won’t one day end up wherever humans are’ - astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talks beaming ads on the moon

Ogilvy & Mather has aims to further deploy science and art to build its clients’ brands and would be interested to work with scientists to see “where we can go from here”, the agency’s worldwide chief creative officer Tham Khai Meng has said.

Speaking to The Drum in conversation with astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Cannes Lions festival, Meng said: “We would love to work with you and collaborate with you to see where we can go from here – can you imagine out there on the moon, how fantastic would that be to put a message on the moon. Beam it up there, do you think it could be done?”

Tyson agreed and said that it would be “short-sighted” to believe that adverts wouldn’t end up “wherever humans are”.

The two also discussed the ways that science and technology will continue to transform communications and storytelling, with Tyson musing the way in which science has weaved its way into media channels such as Twitter, where he has amassed 2.1 million followers.

“I put out a few tweets about the movie Gravity – they got some of their physics wrong – and it was on the morning news… There’s a little bit of science working its way through the media channels that you guys invent.

“So I’ve come to conclude that because of this I’m not making people interested in the universe I think that there’s an ember burning deep within us all and if I have ways to feed that, I can fan that and ignite it. Maybe you forgot you had it but it’s there and it’s coming through these media channels and marketing channels.”

Meng also spoke about Nasa’s Voyager One probe that exited the solar system last year, which he called “a story in itself” to which Tyson responded: “It is the emissary of our civilisation telling stories of who and what we are” after revealing that the probe contains “music of our culture” including Bach, Beethoven and Chuck Berry.

Khai continued and posed the questioned: “Don’t you think one day, it might sound pessimistic but it’s not, when human kind is no longer here, maybe Google will be here, and the thing is this story will continue because it’s the story of humanity.”

Tyson agreed, stating: “I think the greatest of stories not only give us insight and wisdom but it can also teach us maybe what future we don’t want to have.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a Japanese drinks maker Otsuka is sending a one kilogram titanium can filled with powdered sports drink, Pocari Sweat powder, which will serve the first billboard on the moon, The Verge reported.

By continuing to use The Drum, I accept the use of cookies as per The Drum's privacy policy