The European Space Agency (ESA) is courting controversy by using
taxpayers’ money to run an image-building campaign.
The Paris-based agency, which is funded by contributions from its 14
member states, is inviting agencies to pitch for a project aiming to
find out what the public thinks about space activity.
ESA hopes the communications agency it picks will help it to discover
who its audience is and how to approach them. ESA is keen to achieve the
same high profile that NASA enjoys.
’We are looking for advice on how to improve ESA’s image in Europe. We
want to find out how people see it and what support there is for space
activity,’ said spokesman Roger Elaerts.
ESA admits it has a limited communications budget but insists the study
will not use money intended for space exploration.
’We are not looking for an advertising campaign but an audit of how we
should conduct our communications,’ said Elaerts.
The ESA has received 16 proposals from agencies so far. A shortlist is
to be drawn up and the study will begin in the summer.