Branded NASA Merch Is Everywhere (But NASA Doesn’t Make Money From It)
Now that Vans has released its accessories, clothing and sneakers-heavy Space Voyager collection, nobody can deny that it has become a far-out practice for companies to draw inspiration from NASA for their product lines. The federal government agency has certainly earned its keep as an exploratory entity since its 1958 inception, and businesses are responding by having similar penchants for discovery, regarding marketing’s expanse, that is. As Vans and others have tried to skyrocket past the competition with branded NASA merch, they have done so at no financial cost to their bottom lines, as the space agency charges them nothing for the use of its logo, and makes no money of its own from the branded merchandise.
If that generosity struck you as news, welcome to the club, as it could have stood to reason that any business wishing to engineer a lucrative homage to the 1958-established agency would have to pay a hefty sum. Not so, as NASA grants permission as long as parties follow a set of regulations.
— Vans (@Vans) November 2, 2018
“It is a government logo,” NASA office of communications staffer Bert Ulrich told Quartz. “It’s not a brand per se by a private company, so we don’t ask for any sort of remuneration for that.”
NASA does, of course, benefit from the brand exposure the items create. More public interest in NASA, by whatever means, is good for the agency, as increased awareness figures to have a trickle-down effect on NASA's budget. The more interested and invested folks are in NASA, the more likely they'll elect leaders who support bigger NASA budgets. In theory, anyway.
Because of its policies, NASA, who in January released an out-of-this-world logo to mark its formation, has lend its signifier to such bigwigs as Target, Urban Outfitters, Heron Preston, Walmart and Coach, with the Vans output signifying another enterprising venture for the apparel industry constituent. Based on the latest nod to NASA, which encompasses goods priced from $22 to $139.50, it seems that companies will continue to reach for the stars by enlisting the agency as a trusted end-user enticer.
In other words, entities such as Vans, who fare quite well on their own, are hoping for additional greatness via their association with NASA. Since the space pioneer shows no signs of losing its significance in the public realm, it stands to reason that more companies will want to rely on it to engender a little kinetic energy, promotional products-style. With that in mind, which businesses do you think could benefit from an affiliation with NASA? Could you somehow see your brainchild linking up with it?