X-Message-Number: 13175
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 12:18:36 -0500
From: "Stephen W. Bridge" <>
Subject: Promotion of Cryonics

To CryoNet
From Steve Bridge
February 1, 2000

In response to: 

Message #13169
From: "Joseph One" <>
Subject: RE: CryoNet #13163 - #13166
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 11:11:53 -0500

I don't have time to go into a long discussion here, even though this
thread is very interesting to me.  I do want to point out that some vague
references have been made to previous discussions of this topic.  We have
had many here over the years.  I haven't time to pull out all thread
references, but one relevant starting point would be my January 1995
posting of "Selling Cryonics."  See it at the CryoNet archives at:


It is a posting of an article I wrote for the 4th Quarter, 1994 issue of
CRYONICS Magazine while I was Alcor's President. [Note that I posted a typo
in the article heading which says it is from the 4th Quarter, *1995*].  
While it is six years old, I don't think it has dated much.

Joseph One writes:

>It sounds like you're saying that no effort should be made to promote the
>idea of cryonics because any resources used for promotion are needed for
>actual cryopreservation process. However, I find it hard to believe that
>few extra thousand dollars that a low-level publicity campaign would cost
>would so seriously damage the entire cryonics industry.

>I would argue that there is a certain economy of scale involved. By
>investing some of the cryonics industry's resources into promotion, it
>actually see that investment paid off many times over. (I confess I don't
>know the specific economics of most cryonics companies, so I can't make a
>cost-benefit analysis, but if they're spending every penny on operations
>there's something wrong.)

The problem is somewhat different.  Alcor's annual budget is around
$400,000 per year.  That is sort of misleading, because included in that is
a base figure of $85,000 for doing suspensions (both on the expense side
and the income side).  Some years we do zero suspensions; we have done up
to 5 in one year.  Most of the rest of the budget is taken up with required
matters like utilities, salaries, etc.  We can and have devoted up to
$15,000 in one year to promotion, which did us about as much good as the
years in which we spent practically nothing for promotion.  The biggest
promotional ads and program we ever had were in Omni Magazine a number of
years ago, with two articles about an "Immortality Contest" to win a free
suspension, and with two follow-up full-page color ads.  Only 400 or so
entered the contest and our grand total of responses for information was
around 2,000, I believe.  We netted something like 30 new members over a
three-year period able to be tracked to this promotion.  This cost Alcor
only a few thousand dollars up front, but thousands of man-hours for a very
small return.

Our best efforts have been not ads but television interviews and
appearances on programs like the Phil Donahue Show (watched by millions,
responses for information still under 2,000, new memberships under 20.)  

Bettering this, I think, would require expenditures of hundreds of
thousands a year, which we do not have.  And more importantly, as was
argued extensively here a year ago -- in one sense we have nothing to sell!
 We do not have a proven technology.  It requires no brains to understand
that a car works and is useful.  Instead cryonicists are selling a
*possibility* that (1) certain technologies might work in a certain way a
long time in the future and that (2) we *might* be saving "the right stuff"
today so that those technologies will have something useful to work on. 
Appreciating this potential technology and acting upon it requires
intelligence, imagination, time, and confronting one's own beliefs about
life, death, the universe, and everything.  And finally, we will charge
people the equivalent of a very fancy car or even of a large house to take
advantage of this unproven hope. 

It's a marketing nightmare.

Finally, someone else had mentioned earlier (in discussing advantages of
Alcor vs. CI) that "CI owns its facility and Alcor rents."  That's not
quite enough information.  Alcor's building is owned by a limited liability
company, Cryonics Property LLC.  The LLC members are all individual Alcor
suspension members, plus Alcor's Patient Care Trust, which owns about 58%. 
The Trust was formed to care for the funds which take care of Alcor's
suspended patients.  It cannot throw Alcor out of the building; it is part
of Alcor.

Steve Bridge
Alcor Board of Directors
Cryonics Property LLC co-manager

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