This ad was what proved to the ownership at Sky-Skan that I could understand their industry–and bring something visually fresh to their marketing. It ran in the December 2005 issue of The Planetarian, the main industry magazine of the time that was widely circulated among the target audience.
Sky-Skan had secured the centerfold spread of the magazine for years, yet most of the advertising attempted to either focus on the equipment that ran the show, or screen captures from the shows themselves. There was often a lack of creative angle, story, or both in many of the ads. Sky-Skan did have a visually compelling image in its current ad, but it had been run many times and they wanted something new.
With that, I was given a live tour in the Sky-Skan engineering theater of Digital Universe: a revolutionary product was able to bring the audience on a scientifically-accurate tour of the universe. Teachers who strained to keep kid’s attention in astronomy classes with textbooks could suddenly show them the wonders of space as a real-time ride. After being thoroughly impressed from my front-row tour, I went about the task of putting together the ad you see above.
This ad itself was actually my final interview, essentially, as I was not hired yet at Sky-Skan and was asked to make this ad to prove I had what it takes. Thankfully it was received well, despite being a radical departure from the typical screenshot-based ads of the competition. Over the following years, I would continue to create unique ads for The Planetarian magazine and Sky-Skan’s groundbreaking products.
Take a close look at the details in the ad for some hidden astronomy-related jokes, such as page numbers for this “foldable travel map of the universe” in the billions. Incidentally, the map itself I created in Adobe Illustrator from scratch, trying to mimic a real roadmap yet with the proportions and features of the Local Group of galaxies.