The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission is upon us, and along with the history, remembrances, and tributes comes the inevitable cash-grab. A whole bunch of companies from around the world have been working to figure out how to inject a bit of moon nostalgia into their products, and while that has produced some really interesting and fun things to pick up, it means that there are some dumb ideas as well.
Here are some of the worst, and best that our commercial culture has to offer.
Food companies have been jumping at the bit to latch onto any bit of nostalgia over the last couple of months, releasing a whole bunch of products “inspired” by the Apollo 11 mission. Dairy Queen unveiled its “Zero Gravity Blizzard” which you can apparently flip upside down without worrying about it falling out of the cup. There’s the pedantic argument to be made that there is gravity on the Moon, but this just looks gross.
Krispy Kreme released the “Original Filled” doughnut, and made the tenuous argument that it’s connected to the Apollo landing because you can see a Krispy Kreme stand in the background of an Apollo 11 documentary. Sure.
Budweiser is selling a limited edition beer called Discovery Reserve American Red Lager, and says that it’s “for those who challenged the odds and made the impossible, possible.” It also says that the packaging is inspired by the mission, and that the beer’s red coloring is meant to invoke the look of Mars. Because they’re red, see? I guess they took the president at his word that Mars is part of the Moon.
Not to be outdone, but MillerCoors released some limited edition kegs for Blue Moon that’s shaped like a lander. They look kind of cool. It’s also created a SnapChat portal for people to pretend that they’re walking on the moon.
Those aren’t the only breweries getting excited for the anniversary: Lanikai Brewing Company of Hawaii collaborated with NASA to develop a line of space-themed beers, Elysian Brewing released a limited beer called the Space Dust IPA.
Oreo has released a whole bunch of “special edition” Oreos over the years, and it’s doing a special marshmallow version with three different designs.
Zippo unveiled a limited edition lighter, with a neat design of an Apollo astronaut holding the Earth. It looks neat, but it’s also $100, and is sold out. Plus, fire really isn’t something you want in space.
Zero Halliburton is selling a couple of luggage cases that were inspired by the cases that the astronauts took with them to the moon, which the company had manufactured back in the 1960s. These look pretty neat, but they’re expensive: $595 for a medium one, and $525 for a small.
Swatch has announced that it’s releasing a limited edition OMEGA watch for the anniversary. This one makes a little bit of sense: the company provided watches for the Apollo astronauts. This particular watch isn’t an exact replica, but it’s “inspired” by the original watch, and it’s limited to 1,014 items. But, it looks pretty close to the original. There’s also the Moonwatch Anniversary edition, which will run you $9,650.
The Vermont Teddy Bear company has a long history of creating limited-edition bears and creating special costumes for them. It’s created an astronaut bear with a space suit, and it’s pretty cute. Build-A-Bear also has an astronaut costume for its bears, but it doesn’t appear to be designed for the anniversary.
Okay, these are cool
The US Mint has released some commemorative coins for the anniversary, which range from Gold $5 coins, to silver proof dollars — limited editions and pretty expensive. If you want something a bit cheaper, the Mint is releasing a $1 Native American coin that honors the contributions of native Americans and tribes in the space program.
Prop replica company Master Replicas (the folks who created the Hal 9000 home assistant) are selling a replica of the Apollo 11 boot print, which they developed with close-up images and some 3D rendering. This would make for a cool fixture for one’s den or office.
Space artist Steve Gildea has produced some wonderful paintings over the years — a phenomenal illustration featuring the planets of the solar system, and another of Mars. To celebrate the Lunar anniversary, he’s created some special works of lunar craters, which he’s 3D printed and painted. The paintings themselves are expensive, but he’s also offering some switch plates for your home.
Tom Spina Designs is a cool replica company that’s produced some unique home decor, like Star Wars-inspired tables and chairs. It recently announced that it was commissioned to produce an Apollo 11-inspired table for a client. Sadly, this appears to be a one-off.
Earlier this year, Lego released an Apollo 11 Lunar Lander set as part of its Creators program. After purchasing this myself and assembling it, I was blown away by the detail on this one. This set comes two years after Lego released its Creators Apollo Saturn V rocket, which is also a really amazing build.