Responses by Dooley Tombras, president, Tombras.
Background: After seeing the news from the July 23 congressional hearings on the existence of UFOs and unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP)—all but confirming the existence of extraterrestrials on Earth—MoonPie asked an important question: “How do we sell MoonPies to them?” The goal of this work is to effectively reach the aliens living on our planet and sell them delicious MoonPies.
Design thinking: To reach an audience no brand had ever reached, we had to ask questions no brand had ever asked. So, like, we would with any campaign, we dove into market research to try and understand the extraterrestrial demographic and learn how to reach them. We employed the help of Sean Cahill, a retired naval officer and alien expert; Daniel Oberhaus, alien linguist and author of the book Extraterrestrial Languages; and Holly Anne Wood, global UAP researcher and firsthand experiencer. They told us where to find aliens, how to get their attention and how to speak in their language—which is how we got to the ads you see in the campaign. That’s also how we guessed that aliens like chocolate more than banana.
Challenges: Since no brand had ever done this before, we had to define the best practices and guidelines ourselves. Luckily, for any other marketers who might want to tap into this market, we assembled a twelve-point whitepaper on everything we learned about successfully marketing to aliens.
Favorite details: A lot of people are shocked when they find out the words—and sometimes binary code—feature in the ads are 100 percent translations from the Lincos language identified by Oberhaus. We didn’t just make this up; we translated it from an existing lexicon of the language.
New lessons: We found out from our experts that aliens likely prefer chocolate over any other flavor. That was a huge unlock.
Visual influences: Being that this campaign could be the first time we successfully make contact, we wanted to strike a balance between “ads”—as humans would know them—and transmissions. We looked to examples of basic text and information comms as a way to ensure that we weren’t just making something that felt like it was for aliens; we wanted it to be easy to understand.
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