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Swatch sponsorship all bad?



Is it really so terrible that Swatch is sponsoring an amateur radio
satellite?  We need innovative ways to pay for satellites, and direct
commercial sponsorship is one we haven't used before (to my
knowledge).

Now, I certainly agree that Swatch appears to be stepping over
the line, by selecting messages that contain the keyword "beat"
from their advertising campaign. But really, that's not very far
over the line.  They don't appear to be transmitting any direct
advertisements mentioning the company name or their products.

There are other aspects of the program that I find somewhat
distasteful.  Naming the satellite and claiming credit for it, based
on a solely financial contribution, for instance -- but we shouldn't
get too upset about that, since there is precedent within our own
AMSAT-NA spacecraft programs.  Their apparent lack of respect
for the Amateur Radio and Amateur Satellite Services is distressing,
but we should be used to it by now, and in any case the attitude
alone doesn't justify action.  It's a cultural thing anyway, and we
should face the fact that most of us are not part of their target
audience.

My opinion is that we should take the position of inviting Swatch
to be a better citizen, rather than going out of our way to vilify
them. We would have a better chance of changing their plans
with such a moderate approach than with aggressive boycotts
and such.  This is doubly true, since it seems quite clear to me
that we don't have the numbers or the influence to succeed (or
even be noticed) with such a power play.  But more important,
by using our least friendly tactics right away, we would create an
environment that seems quite hostile to commercial sponsorships.
This could close the door on important opportunities for future
satellite projects.

Please note that I am stating my own personal opinion here,
and not speaking for anybody else (including AMSAT).

73  -Paul
kb5mu@amsat.org


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