THE ROCKET PROJECT by 180 LA for Sony Vaio

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Industry Laptops, Netbooks, Tablets
Media Promo & PR, 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 October 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Branded Content
Product/Service: VAIO
Agency: 180LA
Date of First Appearance: Oct 9 2010
Entrant Company: 180LA, Santa Monica, USA
Executive Creative Director: William Gelner (180LA)
Copywriter: Ben Barney (180LA)
Art Director: Ryan "Pocket" Fluet (180LA)
Head of Production/Managing Partner: Peter Cline (180LA)
Agency Producer: David Emery (180LA)
Creative Director: Amir Farhang (180LA)
Creative Director: Ari Weiss (180LA)
Creative Director: Gavin Lester (180LA)
Designer: Kevin Will Chen (180LA)
Interactive Producer: Christopher Neff (180LA)
Director/Producer: Andrew Fried (
Executive Producer: Frank Scherma (
Executive Producer: Justin Wilkes (
Story Producer: Amy Korngiebel (
Executive Producer: Jon Kamen (
Director Of Photography: Bill Winters (
Editor: Ting Poo (Outpost Digital)
Art Director: Jungshih Wang (180LA)
Group Account Director: Kelli Stam (180LA)
Account Manager: Lauren Keeton (180LA)
Media placement: TV Documentary - Discovery Channel - 9 October 2010

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
Create an idea that sells the incredible processing power of Sony laptops in a way that emotionally connects with a young target. The only problem? Our audience didn’t care much about gigabytes or processing power.

How do we bring to life the benefits of cold, hard laptop technology in a way that entertains and emotionally engages our target?

The first rocket to the moon had less computing power than today’s Sony VAIO laptop. Which raised the question: could a Sony laptop launch a rocket?

So we paired eight brilliant students with a mentor and followed the team as they embarked on a six-month crash course in rocket science.

To the client, this was the ultimate product demonstration that showed the capabilities of the Sony VAIO laptop. But to consumers, this was the ultimate human-interest story. These students weren’t just launching a rocket - they were launching their futures.

Creative Execution
The story of eight brilliant students attempting the impossible and launching a rocket was sure to get the attention of our target. But we knew a site, rich media banners and student-generated content wouldn’t be enough.

If we wanted to emotionally invest our target with the Sony brand, we had to tell the complete story of The Rocket Project, from beginning to end. We needed to show the students demonstrating the same grit and determination that had led them to succeed thus far in life. So we created a 30-minute documentary that told the entire story behind their improbable six-month journey. The Rocket Project premiered on Discovery’s Science Channel in prime time on October 9th, 2010.

Results and Effectiveness
At the beginning of the campaign, we set out to tell a story about eight brilliant students empowered by Sony to achieve the impossible. The branded content TV show played a crucial role – it told the entire, inspiring story from beginning to end.

In the end, the Rocket Project reached a quarter of a billion people worldwide, attracted an additional 61,000 fans to Sony’s Facebook page, and received coverage on over 100 news outlets nationwide, including NPR, USA Today, Yahoo!, CNN Español, and Gizmodo. But the best result was how it inspired educators everywhere. The program is now being replicated in 28 schools internationally.