THE ROCKET PROJECT by 180 LA for Sony Vaio

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THE ROCKET PROJECT

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Industry Laptops, Netbooks, Tablets
Media Case study
Market United States
Agency 180 LA
Executive Creative Director William Gelner
Creative Director Gavin Lester, Amir Farhang, Ari Weiss
Art Director Jungshih Wang
Copywriter Ben Barney
Designer Kevin Will Chen
Editor Ting Poo
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Technology and Manufacturing
Advertiser: SONY ELECTRONICS
Product/Service: VAIO
Executive Creative Director: William Gelner (180LA)
Creative Director: Amir Farhang (180LA)
Creative Director: Ari Weiss (180LA)
Creative Director: Gavin Lester (180LA)
Copywriter: Ben Barney (180LA)
Art Director: Ryan "Pocket" Fluet (180LA)
Art Director: Jungshih Wang (180LA)
Head of Production/Managing Partner: Peter Cline (180LA)
Senior Producer: David Emery (180LA)
Interactive Producer: Christopher Neff (180LA)
Designer: Kevin Will Chen (180LA)
Director, Producer: Andrew Fried (@radical.media)
Executive Producer: Frank Scherma (@radical.media)
Executive Producer: Justin Wilkes (@radical.media)
Story Producer: Amy Korngiebel (@radical.media)
Executive Producer: Jon Kamen (@radical.media)
DOP: Bill Winters (@radical.media)
Editor: Ting Poo (Outpost Digital)
Group Account Director: Kelli Stam (180LA)
Account Manager: Lauren Keeton (180LA)
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Media placement: NAPS Story "Science In Our Lives" - Marketwatch.com, Onlinebarrons.com, Nypost.com, Online.wsj.com, Latimes.com, Mia - 08 April 10
Media placement: Media Pitch Letter - CNET News, Forbes.com, JustinTimberlake.com, Current.com, Creativity, Engadget, - 21 July 10
Media placement: NAPS Broadcast Story - CNN-SO CAL (LA), TIME WARNER CABLE (LA), WNYX-TV35 (NY), SOUTHBOROUGH CABLE TV ( - 30 September 10
Media placement: Broll News Package On Satellite - KTLA's "Kurt The Cyber Guy", CNN En Espanol, Fox, KTLA, WGN - 24 July 10
Media placement: TV Broadcast Notice To Media - Gearlog,com, Technews.am, Dailybreeze.com, Rocketdungeon.com, Oobject.com - 07 October 10
Summary of the Campaign
To an average consumer, PCs are just identical black boxes with similar, if not the exact same specs.
CHALLENGE:
Sony needed to leverage processing power in a way that would emotionally connect with people, while generating maximum publicity, as there was little investment in paid media.
INSIGHT:
Today’s Sony VAIO laptop has more processing power than the first rocket to reach the moon. Which raised the question: could a Sony VAIO launch a rocket?
EXECUTION:
We paired eight brilliant high school students with a rocket scientist and challenged them to attempt the impossible: design, build, and launch a rocket with just a Sony VAIO laptop. The project culminated as the rocket soared 27 miles into the stratosphere, reaching a top speed of Mach 2.8.
OUTCOME:
This wasn’t an ad campaign, this was a news story.
It generated 234,000,000 impressions.
It was covered by over 100 news outlets nationwide.
It generated over $8,000,000 in earned media.
The story behind the launch was later made into a 30-minute documentary, premiering on Discovery’s Science Channel.
The Situation
The Sony VAIO laptop is in an increasingly commoditized category.
To the average consumer, PCs are just a bunch of identical black boxes with similar, if not the exact same, specs. Sony’s key differentiator was it’s superior processing power. Not exactly a topic of conversation.
Sony needed to leverage processing power in a way that would emotionally connect with people, while generating maximum publicity, as there was little investment in paid media.
The Goal
We had to make Sony’s superior processing power relevant and more tangible. Our actions needed to speak louder than words. And it couldn’t be just a technology story – it had to be a human-interest story powered by technology. In order to generate maximum publicity, we needed to:
1. Create engaging content that would get the attention of the media.
2. Generate consumer buzz that would spread the story.
3. Go beyond selling computers and actually make a difference in people’s lives.
The Strategy
We set out to learn as much as possible about computer processing power. An interview with the Senior Curator of the Museum of Computer History in Silicon Valley led us to a powerful insight.
Today’s Sony VAIO has "many times more processing power" than the computer used in the 1960s to put the Apollo rocket on the moon. So we wondered, could a Sony VAIO launch a rocket?
Execution
We paired eight brilliant high school students with a rocket scientist as their mentor, and challenged them to design, build and launch a rocket using a Sony VAIO laptop.
It was no easy task.
The students battled a steep learning curve, mechanical failures, weather delays and tight launch windows. We documented everything: the kids at school, with their families, their backgrounds, and their daily trials and tribulations.
Their journey culminated with the launch of a 29-foot, 1,100-pound rocket in the Black Rock Desert. The rocket reached a top speed of Mach 2.8, soared 147,000 feet and changed the lives of eight students forever.
Documented Results
This wasn’t an ad campaign, this was news story.
It generated over 234,000,000 impressions.
It was covered by over 100 news outlets including Fox news, CNN, NPR, Forbes and USA Today.
Generated over $8,000,000 in earned media, surpassing our paid media investment fourfold.
Social media played a big part with tweets by Justin Timberlake, CNET and The Drudge Report.
Midway through the project, we were contacted by the Discovery family of networks to make a 30-minute documentary that later premiered on The Science Chanel.
Best of all, the Rocket Project class will be replicated in 28 school curriculums internationally.