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2017 EFFIE Award Preview: Lockheed Martin Field Trip to Mars

Category: Media Effie: Media Innovation - New Channel Creation

Client: Lockheed Martin

Agency: McCann New York (with contributing agencies Momentum Worldwide, Weber Shandwick and Universal McCann)

Title: Lockheed Martin Field Trip to Mars

Challenge: Lockheed Martin is living in the age of the entrepreneur. Today’s innovation is fast-paced, disruptive and entrepreneurial in spirit. Compared to this new entrepreneurial way of doing business, Lockheed Martin seemed slow and outdated. 

As a result, Lockheed Martin’s customers have been looking more and more to entrepreneurs for new ways to innovate, especially when it came to space. So, even though Lockheed Martin was creating the technology that would one day bring us to Mars, entrepreneurs like Elon Musk were dominating the space conversation. So, no matter how often Lockheed Martin talked about their own incredible innovations in space, they were quickly overshadowed by Elon Musk. 

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Solution: To change the conversation, we had to bring a new perspective to the table. One where we weren’t just talking about our technology, but helping to inspire people about where it can take us. And Lockheed Martin’s work on Orion to bring the first people to Mars could do just that. 

With the first manned mission to Mars only a handful of years away, we knew that the first generation to walk on Mars is in elementary school, today. So Lockheed Martin set out to inspire them and make them the new focal point in the Mars conversation. 

To inspire the first generation that will walk on Mars, we brought the Red Planet closer than it has ever been before via the first-ever group virtual reality experience. We transformed a classic school bus into an immersive, moving field trip where passengers could see, hear and feel what the surface of Mars is like, and do so as a shared experience without headsets or goggles. This immersive experience launched a comprehensive STEM education program called Generation Beyond, what would provide these students with the tools and inspiration they needed to become the first generation of deep space explorers.

We launched this experience at the nation’s biggest STEM event, The USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC. D.C.-area students thought they were going on a normal field trip to the festival. But as the windows transformed to reveal the Martian landscape, we surprised them with a field trip unlike no other.

Results: Lockheed Martin was able to take charge of the Mars conversation, inspire a generation and regain its place as a leader in space; all while completely transforming the way virtual reality is experienced. 

In the week after the launch of the program, Lockheed Martin had 176% more mentions in the Mars conversation than SpaceX and 209% more than Elon Musk. The net sentiment around the conversation was at 100%, which was a 203% increase from the week prior.

Since launch, videos featuring the virtual field trip have been viewed over 6 million times. The bus was a trending topic on Facebook for more than 24 hours. Conversation spanned across 55 countries and many different groups of people, including educators, Mars enthusiasts, technology influencers, virtual reality experts, parents, and even school transportation organizations. We successfully earned over 40 original media placements and over 90MM impressions. The placements included major news outlets like NBC, ABC, and Fox covering the story, as well as leading technology and innovation sites like Engadget, PSFK, Popular Science, an

Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the marketing industry and recognize any and all forms of communication that contribute to a brand's success. Gold, silver and bronze Effie winners will be announced at the 2017 North American Effie Awards gala on June 1 in New York.

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