The European Space Agency, a consortium behind the launch of the Ariane rockets, is looking for an advertising agency network to raise awareness among taxpayers and governments alike.
The ESA, which is funded by 14 member states, including the UK, France, Germany and Italy, has spoken to 16 agencies who are competing to be put on a shortlist of two or three. Two years ago, the ESA’s public image suffered a damaging setback when one of its rockets exploded seconds after its maiden launch.
An ESA spokesman says: “As a brand, ESA is not well known or is known in the wrong way. Ask someone about ESA and they say, ‘what’s that?’.”
The appointed agency will be asked to conduct an initial research project, looking into ways ESA can present its image more effectively across Europe.
A spokesman for ESA says that it will be looking at “different means of communication”, including public relations and advertising.
According to a source at the consortium, one of the key selection criteria will be the strength of the agencies’ networks across Europe.
The Paris-based European Space Agency was set up in 1980, with the objective to promote space research and technology.
ESA launches space probes and satellites and works with companies’ international operations, such as Inmarsat, a mobile satellite organisation.