On this day at 2:56 UTC 1967, 600 million people watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first people to step onto the moon. These steps not only left a positive mark on every one of these people but have left a mark on many brands since.

Brands will always want to be associated with true historical heroes and there are none more so than the likes of Buzz Aldrin. Of course when he took those first steps on the moon his focus was on the mission at hand, and little would he have realised the impact that could have a consumers consciousness further down the line.

Though the idea of implementing a modern day icon is an understandable marketing tactic, and there is no doubt in its effectiveness to bolster a brand in the short term, the implementation of a historical icon – one that has stood the test of time can have a lasting a truly profound effect on the consumer. Consider this an even greater asset when people look at the current condition of the world with fear and concern, there becomes a desire to remember the ‘golden years’ – a time that comparatively seemed to be progressive and positive. Bringing in an icon that represents this rose tinted nostalgia and brands tend to be onto a winner.

When it comes to true icons, their role be it as an astronaut, an actor, a model transcends far beyond this. They stand for so much more and from a brands perspective, where they are constantly looking to push the boundaries of the product or service they are, and this is an appealing asset to be associated with. If we look at Marilyn Monroe and Dior, or Steve McQueen and Tag Heuer Watches – these are brand associations that have not just formed for a 12 month ad campaign. The icon and the brand are synonymous with each other. You think of the brand and you think of the icon. An icon who is not going to disappear in a few months due to the ever changing pop culture landscape. Despite being larger than life, their personal stories that you may not know are what truly connects them to consumers.  It makes them aspirational.  That someone like you could achieve anything.

Finally what we must consider is that an icon of historical importance can deliver multi-generational reach. For brands that have long been established, as much as they need to connect with new consumers they must also maintain that relationship with those that have been a customer for many years. If you take Omega and their relationship with Buzz Aldrin. Buzz wore an Omega watch strapped to the outside of his suit as he walked on the moon 48 years ago today. Now Buzz continues as a brand ambassador for Omega, working alongside more modern day icons such as George Clooney. A brand that has a legacy of inspiration and timelessness must in turn work and be associated with those that are inspirational and timeless.

Icons can move brand stories forward. See the possibilities with Greenlights extraordinary list of icons including Einstein, The Wright Brothers, Maria Callas, Martin Luther King Jr. and more!

Tim serves as senior client manager at Greenlight, part of the Branded Entertainment Network, where he leads the music licensing business across EMEA. Tim previously worked at Defected Records as licensing manager before moving to the broader role at Greenlight, encompassing talent and rights clearances. Since joining Greenlight in 2015, Tim has played a central role in representing major celebrity icons to brands and agencies across Europe, including Buzz Aldrin.