THE ROCKET PROJECT - SONY ELECTRONICS | 180LA
It was 2010. Sony came to us looking for an idea that would promote their VAIO laptop computers, armed with the newest and most powerful Intel processors ever. While learning about the insandouts of processing power, we uncovered a powerful creative insight: Today’s Sony VAIO laptop has more computing power than the Apollo rockets, the first to reach the moon. It was pure gold. Now all I had to was sell it in to our client.
Try pitching sending a rocket to space to a client. Really though. Try pitching it over and over again for a year. “No, it won’t turn in to a missile.” “Yes, it will go into space.” “Yes it’s a real rocket, not the kind you sent off in fifth grade for a science project.”
We recruited eight students from the California Academy of Math and Science (CAMS), a high school in South Los Angeles. A diverse group of academically gifted teens, these students were paired with a rocket engineering genius mentor who taught them how to build and launch a rocket using only a Sony VAIO laptop.
This was my first time making a group n Facebook and figuring out what a social content calendar could even look like. We had meetings on Saturday mornings to study and actually build a rocket the weight of a VW car (well, we built two, just in case, which was a smart move).
We documented every step of their journey, and shared the story with our audience through a website, videos on YouTube and Ustream, and photos on Flickr.
We had to get clearance from the FAA. We booked our launch window in the Black Rock desert of Nevada. It moved three or four different times— each time we had to adjust our shoot plan, our production company’s schedule, our lives…
Ultimately, we made it to the Black Rock desert. It was like being on another planet (pun intended). We slept under the stars. We got lost where Google maps couldn’t locate us. I definitely saw a mirage. We had a huge production team with us to document it all. We launched a rocket. It did not reach space. It actually turned and tanked and hit the ground. We all wanted to cry. We tried again (good thing for the second rocket) and were successful. It was an advertising dream come true.