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A PR Conundrum of Intergalactic Proportions

PR professionals expect things to go wrong. In many respects, it’s what we do. PR people are typically creative types, and nothing requires more resourcefulness and imagination than an unexpected situation that suddenly propels a brand, a person or a product into a negative and public spotlight. Sometimes PR experts work on a local level, a national level or even an international level. But what happens when things go awry on an intergalactic level?

America, and the entire planet earth, is experiencing a PR problem on the moon, which can be argued was the first planetary billboard space ever used by mankind. This 2012 space odyssey has to do with the American flags US astronauts planted on the moon decades ago. It appears, well, that the flags are no longer conveying the sense of pride, power and identity they used to project. This article on Gizmodo explains the details: “While the $5.50 nylon flags are still waving on the windless orb, they are not flags of the United States of America anymore. All Moon and material experts have no doubt about it: the flags are now completely white. If you leave a flag on Earth for 43 years, it would be almost completely faded. On the Moon, with no atmospheric protection whatsoever, that process happens a lot faster. The stars and bars disappeared from our Moon flags quite some time ago.”

What does this mean for public relations between the human race and aliens? Who knows. It all depends on how aliens interpret the meaning of five white flags stuck on the moon. (There were six flags, but one, set too close to the Apollo 11 landing site, was knocked down by the force of the craft lifting off from the moon’s surface.) Many in our profession like to speculate where the industry is heading, but few look so far into the future, and the past, to even consider PR on an intergalactic level. Perhaps now is the time. After all, right now “Made in America” isn’t faring so well on the moon. Perhaps Curiosity will do better on Mars.

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