The Apollo missions to the moon have been used in advertising ever since Tang became the official powdered drink mix for the astronauts. The latest example is a series of Lyft ads featuring Tilda Swinton, a British actress, and Jordan Peele, an American actor, and comedian, in the command module of an Apollo spacecraft in orbit around the moon circa 1971.

Lyft is going after its primary rival Uber

The logline of the ad, “It matters how you get there,” is a clear slap at Lyft’s rival in the ride-sharing industry, Uber. Uber has been rocked by media reports of less than ethical business practices.

While the company is in the process of a corporate restructuring and is trying to address those problems, Lyft is trying to position itself as the ride-sharing company that does not engage in shady business practices while getting people where they need to go.

But why the Apollo moon landings?

From one perspective, trying to associate the Apollo Moon Landings to a modern ride-sharing service would seem to be a bit odd. The computing power of an Apollo navigation system was less than that of a pocket calculator, not to speak of the smartphone with which one summons a ride-sharing car. The Apollo astronauts did not take plastic water bottles with them. Incidentally, neither women nor African Americans have traveled to the moon – yet.

However, even almost 50 years after the first moon landing, Apollo has a particular power that transcends its era. The missions to the moon represent a time when people used technology to accomplish things that, ironically, are not possible decades later. If there can be said to be a heroic age of space exploration, it is the period between 1969 and 1972 when men walked on the moon.

Moon missions and advertising in the future

Ad agencies may want to take notice that opportunities for branding may exist because of future lunar missions now being undertaken and planned. The German car company Audi is already associated with a private lunar mission being conducted by a group calling themselves Part-Time Scientists.

A number of other commercial missions to the moon, some being conducted under the Google Lunar XPrize competition, are due to start in 2018.

People will walk on the moon again, perhaps sooner than many individuals realize if plans being contemplated by the Trump administration come to fruition. Private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin will be going back to the lunar surface as well, either as partners with NASA or embarking on their own enterprises. The opportunities for branding are beyond evaluation.