Imagine looking into the calm night sky and, in the foreground of a galaxy of shimmering stars, seeing a confrontational space advertisement demanding justice for gamers. Last weekend, the website Futurism reported that PepsiCo recently considered launching an “orbital billboard” in space to promote its campaign “against stereotypes and unjustified prejudices against gamers.”
The Russian company StartRocket, which claims it can launch “orbital displays” into space at a 250-mile altitude, is behind this bizarre and invasive foray into space capitalism. Apparently, it will use 30-foot satellite sails as “pixels.” It is unclear how StartRocket gets funding or whether it is regurgitated science fiction goop wrapped up in an investor flypaper. (StartRocket did not return Kotaku’s request for comment by press time.)
PepsiCo reportedly would use StartRocket’s tech to launch an ad for Adrenaline Rush, an energy drink aimed at the Russian gamer market. A recent YouTube “manifesto”—PepsiCo’s words, not ours—about the product combats the idea that video games are for children, calling that “the most unfair stereotype of the century.” A press release for Adrenaline Rush explains that “the time has come for change: It’s time to say ‘Stop’ to the disrespect and misunderstanding of gaming culture, to get rid of unfair stereotypes.” The stereotypes in question, apparently, are that gamers are toxic, unemployed children.
Curious and a little (read: extremely) skeptical of the prospect of space billboards existing outside of the anime Cowboy Bebop, Kotaku reached out to PepsiCo to confirm that this is real. It is, the company explained, but their so-called “exploratory test” was a “one-time event.”