X-Message-Number: 13183
From: Daniel Ust <>
Subject: Re: 13175 Promotion of Cryonics
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000 11:29:02 -0500 

On Tue, 1 Feb 2000 12:18:36 -0500 Stephen W. Bridge
>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
>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
>starting point would be my January 1995 posting of "Selling Cryonics."  See
>at the CryoNet archives at:

That was a great article.  I'm glad to see that not only has a lot of this
stuff been discussed before, but some of it has been done.

This also leads me to believe that I should devote some time to reading the
archives to get a better idea of what has been tried and what the results
were.  Whether I'll act on that belief depends on how much "spare" time I
have in the next few weeks.

>The problem is somewhat different.  Alcor's annual budget is around
>per year.  That is sort of misleading, because included in that is a base
>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
>utilities, salaries, etc.  We can and have devoted up to $15,000 in one
>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
>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.

What is the average amount of new members "netted" per year?  Are those
numbers available for Alcor anywhere where I can access them?  What about
Cryonics Institute?  Etc.

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

Did you try to repeat those efforts?  I realize a lot of this sort of
coverage has to do with what the Media is interested in and is hard to
repeat. (It would be nice to see NOVA do a show on cryonics...)  The radio
show stuff is perhaps not as hard to do.

>Bettering this, I think, would require expenditures of hundreds of
thousands a
>year, which we do not have.

I think there are lots of "guerilla" marketing techniques which are low
cost, which won't give you the same level of coverage as a highly rated TV
show, but will keep cryonics alive in the public consciousness.  (Not that
people aren't aware of cryonics - if you asked them - but on average they
probably don't think about it much and, given that survey taken a few years
ago and published on the web (I forget the URL; help me out here), are
probably mistaken a lot about its details.)  Alcor, e.g., might like it if
when people thought about cryonics, they almost immediately thought about
Alcor - a real organization, not an abstract idea.  (This goes as well for
the other cryonics organizations.)

>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
>*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
>technology and acting upon it requires intelligence, imagination, time, and
>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.

Here I disagree.  Yes, you don't have product to sell in the sense of a car
or a better mousetrap.  But religious leaders and politicians also "sell"
people products that don't exist. Religions are even further out than
cryonics because of what they promise.  Politicians too often promise the
impossible and don't regularly deliver.  In fact, that politicians break
promises is a truism.:)  Venture capitalists, too, invest money in dreams.
Some of these guys are investing in mining asteroids and hotels in space.
So, I don't think cryonics is unique in this respect.  And given how much
money pours into churches of various sorts, political campaigns (many of
which fail), and new businesses (most of which fail), I don't think it would
be that difficult to do the same with cryonics.

What do you, Stephen, think of the idea of setting up another organization
to pool all the cryonics organizations' promotion efforts together?

One final note just to diffuse any potential ad hom. attacks.  I'm not in
marketing or sales, nor am I looking for any money from any cryonics
organization.  If I do get involved in any advocacy or advertisement
campaign, it will most likely be on my own nickel - not yours.  (I'm using
that "yours" in the plural here.  English can be so confusing!:)

Long and happy lives to you!

Daniel Ust
	Read why tar water is the perfect cryoprotectant at:

"I don't think that 'it hasn't worked before' is a valid reason not to keep
trying. After all, powered flight kept failing and failing too. I think this
is more a question of what strategy to pursue, rather than evidence that
strategies to encourage popularization of cryonics must and will always
fail." - Joseph One, CryoNet #13169

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