Perhaps you've seen the video Lego Man in Space that’s gone around recently. It's an interesting time-lapse sequence of a ride on a weather balloon and has generated two million views in five days.
Whenever there is a new technology like this, it is inevitable that somebody will use it as a place to sell ads. Enter JP Aerospace, a company that flies a high altitude balloon, carrying ads, to the edge of space and returns photos for the sponsor to use.
The JP Aerospace site says: "Creates impact! Gives customers a lasting impression of your logo or message! Provides a dramatic image for your company's press releases, corporate reports and web site!"
We have ads on the tray tables of airplanes, on supermarket carts, in blaring videos mounted on gas pumps, and in public restrooms (above urinals, on the back of stall doors and on mirrors).
When you're engaged in buying attention through advertising, it is like an arms race - you need to find new ways to “get your message out there” even taking it into the edge of space.
It costs a lot of money to buy attention (in 2012, a 30-second Super Bowl ad is reported to be $3.5 million).
But if you're generating attention by creating content on the web instead, search engines find it and people share via social, and you’ve got an asset that you can build for free.
I find it fascinating that the big goal of many Super Bowl ads in 2012 is to get people to engage with the brands via social media. Incredible. Pay $3.5 million for the time (and probably another million at least for the ad agency "creative") in order to get people to talk you up in social.
There's a better way. And it's free. Create content that people are eager to share.