Mars mission is no alien to rejection

Sponsorship can get a bit monotonous. Sport, buildings, people. And it’s not like being at school: companies can’t just pledge 50p and then pretend not to be in when it’s time to cough up the money.

So you’d think that companies would jump at the chance to sponsor an interplanetary spaceship. Not so, it seems. Three and a half years ago, M&C Saatchi Sponsorship began looking for a sponsor for the European Space Agency’s Beagle 2 lander, built by EADS Astrium and named after Charles Darwin’s ship (MW January 27, 2000). Heading the hunt was chief executive Matthew Patten, whose desperate attempts to persuade anyone to sign up have graced this page before (MW September 28, 2000).

All went quiet for a while, until the announcement this month that sponsorship agency SP Active (headed by one Matthew Patten) has finally found a sponsor. And it’s… EADS Astrium.

Perhaps it is like being at school after all – remember when the unpopular kids could only get their mums and dads to sponsor them? Let’s just hope EADS hasn’t pledged an amount per mile…