Out-of-this world promotion: send the winner into space

Winning a trip to Hawaii or a Mediterranean cruise is so ho-hum. One company upped the ante in a recent contest - with the winner eligible for a trip into space. A new frontier for promotions?
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Plenty of contests offer enticing prizes such as Mediterranean or Caribbean cruises or Hawaii vacations. Now, in a portend of things to come, one software company just completed a contest in which the winner is  receiving the ultimate getaway: a trip into space.

Joe Miller, database administrator for Research in Motion, was announced as the winner of Red Gate Software’s DBA in Space competition. Miller beat 5,500 other entrants in the contest, winning the final round by gaining the highest number of votes both from the public and from a judging panel that included Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, Simon Galbraith, joint-CEO of Red Gate Software, and Buck Woody, senior technical specialist for Microsoft and author of more than 500 articles and five books on databases.

As the competition winner, Miller had a choice between a ticket to space or a $100,000 cash prize. He chose the cash for now, which he says he will still invest to buy a ticket in a few years’ time — when his infant son is old enough to understand what Daddy is up to.

Miller is reportedly speaking with Space Adventures, tapped by Red Gate to organize the flight, to plan his future reservations. Space Adventures, with offices near Washington, D.C. and Moscow, was the company that organized the flights for the world's first private space explorers. Since 2001, the company brokered, seven successful tourist flights to the International Space Station (ISS), starting with Dennis Tito. Along with ISS-bound flights, Space Adventures offers programs such as missions around the moon, Zero-Gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecraft.

The competition saw DBAs compete in two stages. First, they had to answer 14 online video questions and provide a tiebreaker of what they’d tweet from space. This whittled the field down to 15 finalists who campaigned to win public votes and impress a judging panel. More than 12,000 votes were cast in the public poll.

(Cross-posted at ZDNet Service Oriented.)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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