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Evan Hadfield

October 4, 2016 by Speakers' Spotlight

Evan Hadfield Explains Why Astronaut Father’s Tweets Went Viral

As head of Toronto digital creative agency launch*pad, Evan Hadfield has built a name for himself from the ground up. The mastermind behind Colonel Chris Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” YouTube sensation, as well as dozens of other videos by the famed astronaut, Evan knows what it takes to thrive in the internet era. In his talks, he draws upon his experience to explain that when it comes to digital strategy, not every line needs to be straight, and that rigidity can be the greatest barrier to success. Evan recently spoke in Regina and revealed how he helped skyrocket his father to world-wide renown through the power of social media:

The son of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was in Regina Tuesday, talking about why his father’s social media posts from space were so massively popular with with the public.

Evan Hadfield was a keynote speaker at the Saskatchewan Professional Marketing Association annual conference in Regina.

The elder Hadfield received wide acclaim for his social media presence while aboard the International Space Station in 2013. But it was Hadfield the younger who worked on the strategy and did much of the legwork.

After numerous Twitter and Facebook posts, the capper was a video of Chris performing David Bowie’s Space Oddity in near-zero gravity.

Speaking with Morning Edition host Sheila Coles, Evan said when he brought the idea to his father, Chris was a little skeptical at first.

“He was less than keen at the start, particularly since in the song, the astronaut dies,” he said. “So, we rewrote the words.”

The song turned out be a viral hit, garnering millions of views on YouTube.

Looking back at the impact of all the social media posts from space, what made it successful was to look at things from the public’s perspective, rather than from an astronaut’s.

“So those videos of brushing your teeth, going to sleep, cutting your hair…. these are things that everyone can understand, across the world, not just in Canada.”

Evan Hadfield said he’s looking forward to further collaborations with his father, who retired from the Canadian Space Agency shortly after returning from space.

cbc.ca/October, 2016