It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…No, It’s the Martin Jetpack
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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…No, It’s the Martin Jetpack

For 27 years, Martin Aircraft was cloaked in secrecy as founder Glenn Martin and a team of engineers quietly created one of the world's most highly sought technological innovations - the first practical jetpack.

Holmes Report

Program Overview
For 27 years, Martin Aircraft was cloaked in secrecy as founder Glenn Martin and a team of engineers quietly created one of the world's most highly sought technological innovations - the first practical jetpack. Although still in the concept testing mode (meaning very limited flights), the company needed to create a buzz about the new product to continue to drive the development process. But how could a no-name company be taken seriously with a device that costs $100,000 and looks nothing like the previous jetpack models? After Martin Aircraft decided to launch its jetpack at the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual EAA AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wis. in late July 2008, it called on CRT/tanaka to create a plan that would help achieve the company's goals. The catch was that the test flights were limited to no more than six feet off the ground for less than a minute and the PR campaign could last only 30 days with a $35,000 budget.
 
Challenge
Challenges associated with the announcement included:
·         Timing – Martin Jetpack came to CRT/tanaka about 45 days before the Oshkosh event, and engaged CRT/tanaka to work only during the 30-day period leading up to and during Oshkosh.
·         Limited Budget – As a small company in search of investors, Martin Jetpack had a limited budget of $35,000 for time and expenses associated with this campaign.
·         Flight Restrictions – EAA’s AirVenture has restrictions limiting test flights, making it difficult to demonstrate the full scope of the jetpack’s capabilities.
 
Research
The research phase, though limited by time constraints (for budget reasons, the client only allowed CRT/tanaka to work for a 30-day period, which encompassed research, planning, execution and coordination), was multifaceted.
·         First, we performed a market analysis, identifying other devices claiming to be jetpacks. We researched their capabilities and limitations, pricing and marketing strategies. Research results helped create a platform on which we based our messaging and media pitches. We also gleaned technical insights from the aviation community, gaining understandings of what potential buyers wanted to hear, and determining, geographically, where most potential jetpack buyers - current aircraft owners with disposable income - were concentrated.
·         Secondly, we performed a media analysis, gaining an understanding of key media reps' opinions and coverage of previous devices that claimed to be jetpacks. From this, we were able to identify ways to take the skepticism away from influential reporters and touch them on an emotional level.
From our research, we knew we needed to communicate effectively with three main audiences - Tech Influencers; Buyers; and Investors. To ensure potential buyers were made aware of the opportunity to buy a real jetpack, we had to garner large-scale global media results.
 
Goals and Objectives
Objectives for the campaign included:
  • Generate credible global media coverage for the product launch
  • Create an environment to enhance discussions with investors and generate new leads for funding
  • Generate sales leads, both at EAA AirVenture and on the Martin Aircraft Web site.
 
Strategic Approach
Martin chose EAA's AirVenture, the largest aviation event in the U.S., as the site of the first public unveiling of the Martin Jetpack. But Oshkosh created challenges of its own. How could we lure the top national outlets to the middle of Wisconsin for an aviation event they seldom covered? In order to reach possible investors, CRT/tanaka needed an outreach plan that reached beyond the aviation community to mainstream media outlets, technology trades and Web-based venues. Despite flight restrictions that would limit the jetpack flight to only fly six feet off the ground for less than a minute, CRT/tanaka's strategy was to go big and bold. The agency decided to tease top outlets with online coverage, and to lock them in by offering a select few powerful outlets a chance to fly the machine. The agency targeted media based on their ability to influence other media outlets and their network feed systems that would push their coverage to other outlets across the globe.
 
Execution
Tactics for the campaign included:
·         Implement a teaser campaign through EAA's Web site to create pre-launch online buzz. Not only would this create credibility within the aviation community, it also would reach hundreds of thousands of AirVenture attendees (and potential buyers).
·         Target technology and aviation bloggers and writers to keep the buzz alive and drive them to the EAA site for video clips and more details. Glenn Martin participated briefly on a few online chat rooms to "water the mouths" of aviation enthusiasts.
·         Leverage online videos to entice traditional media outlets to bite into the story. CRT/tanaka launched teaser videos on EAA's Web site and YouTube that discussed man's fascination with jetpacks and offered a sneak peak from the pilot's perspective of what it is like to fly the Martin Jetpack.
·         Target The New York Times and CNN with exclusive coverage opportunities to ensure strong international coverage.
·         Conduct pre-event interviews with the Associated Press and other outlets to ensure strong national day-of-launch coverage.
·         Give reporters the chance to fly the jetpack themselves.
·         To help sustain momentum, no reporters were given the opportunity to fly on the launch date. Instead, test flights occurred in the following days.
 
Results
By 5 a.m. the morning of the launch, the Martin Jetpack was featured on the front page of The New York Times, with multiple stories running across the Associated Press wire, reaching newsrooms around the world. Within the first two hours after the launch, media outlets from across the globe were requesting interviews with Glenn and his team. Within the first week, the results were staggering:
·         Media Coverage:
o   More than 1,000 broadcast hits across the U.S. including all major U.S. networks and seven of the top 20 markets. Both CNN and NBC’s “Today Show” carried live segments featuring reporters flying the device.
o   Front page coverage in The New York Times and London Telegraph. Stories also appeared in other national papers and globally in countries like Russia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, India, Australia, China and Japan.
o   Radio interviews in major markets in the U.S., Australia, U.K., New Zealand and Ireland.
o   The viral campaign generated 3,600 different mentions by bloggers, 250,000 views of online video segments across a dozen different channels, as well as ongoing discussions with the largest “tech” bloggers.
o   Coverage in technical outlets like Popular Science and Gizmodo continues to drive discussion among technical audiences.
o   News coverage and online discussions have created a pool of reporters who intend to track the progress of the Martin Jetpack.
o   Interviews with media outlets in more than 20 countries across four continents.
o   Broadcast coverage on the day of and day after launch generated more than 43 million media impressions and an estimated publicity value of close to $2 million. Totals are still being calculated, but the estimated media value is more than $20 million.
o   Prior to the campaign launch, the company had zero hits on Google. Within two weeks, that number had jumped to 460,000.
·         Investors/ Business Opportunities:
o   Multiple potential investors contacted the company about possible partnerships following the launch.
o   The company also was contacted about possible technology partnerships on other types of vehicles.
o   Media coverage generated several calls to Martin Aircraft from other aviation shows to demo the new jetpack.
·         Sales Leads
o   EAA calls the unveiling the hottest event staged at AirVenture in nearly a decade.
o   Several individuals placed orders on the spot and the sales team generated more than 40 “interested” leads at the show.
o   Web traffic exceeded 100,000 visitors in the first 48 hours. The “place an order page” on the Martin Jetpack Web site was the second most popular page after the “take a peak” video segment.
o   Media exposure created a pipeline of parties across the globe interested in serving as regional sales distributors in their respective countries.
Program Overview For 27 years, Martin Aircraft was cloaked in secrecy as founder Glenn Martin and a team of engineers quietly created one of the world's most highly sought technological innovations - the first practical jetpack. Although still in the concept testing mode (meaning very limited flights), the company needed to create a buzz about the new product to continue to drive the development process. But how could a no-name company be taken seriously with a device that costs $100,000 and looks nothing like the previous jetpack models? After Martin Aircraft decided to launch its jetpack at the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual EAA AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wis. in late July 2008, it called on CRT/tanaka to create a plan that would help achieve the company's goals. The catch was that the test flights were limited to no more than six feet off the ground for less than a minute and the PR campaign could last only 30 days with a $35,000 budget. Challenge Challenges associated with the announcement included: • Timing – Martin Jetpack came to CRT/tanaka about 45 days before the Oshkosh event, and engaged CRT/tanaka to work only during the 30-day period leading up to and during Oshkosh. • Limited Budget – As a small company in search of investors, Martin Jetpack had a limited budget of $35,000 for time and expenses associated with this campaign. • Flight Restrictions – EAA’s AirVenture has restrictions limiting test flights, making it difficult to demonstrate the full scope of the jetpack’s capabilities. Research The research phase, though limited by time constraints (for budget reasons, the client only allowed CRT/tanaka to work for a 30-day period, which encompassed research, planning, execution and coordination), was multifaceted. • First, we performed a market analysis, identifying other devices claiming to be jetpacks. We researched their capabilities and limitations, pricing and marketing strategies. Research results helped create a platform on which we based our messaging and media pitches. We also gleaned technical insights from the aviation community, gaining understandings of what potential buyers wanted to hear, and determining, geographically, where most potential jetpack buyers - current aircraft owners with disposable income - were concentrated. • Secondly, we performed a media analysis, gaining an understanding of key media reps' opinions and coverage of previous devices that claimed to be jetpacks. From this, we were able to identify ways to take the skepticism away from influential reporters and touch them on an emotional level. From our research, we knew we needed to communicate effectively with three main audiences - Tech Influencers; Buyers; and Investors. To ensure potential buyers were made aware of the opportunity to buy a real jetpack, we had to garner large-scale global media results. Goals and Objectives Objectives for the campaign included: • Generate credible global media coverage for the product launch • Create an environment to enhance discussions with investors and generate new leads for funding • Generate sales leads, both at EAA AirVenture and on the Martin Aircraft Web site. Strategic Approach Martin chose EAA's AirVenture, the largest aviation event in the U.S., as the site of the first public unveiling of the Martin Jetpack. But Oshkosh created challenges of its own. How could we lure the top national outlets to the middle of Wisconsin for an aviation event they seldom covered? In order to reach possible investors, CRT/tanaka needed an outreach plan that reached beyond the aviation community to mainstream media outlets, technology trades and Web-based venues. Despite flight restrictions that would limit the jetpack flight to only fly six feet off the ground for less than a minute, CRT/tanaka's strategy was to go big and bold. The agency decided to tease top outlets with online coverage, and to lock them in by offering a select few powerful outlets a chance to fly the machine. The agency targeted media based on their ability to influence other media outlets and their network feed systems that would push their coverage to other outlets across the globe. Execution Tactics for the campaign included: • Implement a teaser campaign through EAA's Web site to create pre-launch online buzz. Not only would this create credibility within the aviation community, it also would reach hundreds of thousands of AirVenture attendees (and potential buyers). • Target technology and aviation bloggers and writers to keep the buzz alive and drive them to the EAA site for video clips and more details. Glenn Martin participated briefly on a few online chat rooms to "water the mouths" of aviation enthusiasts. • Leverage online videos to entice traditional media outlets to bite into the story. CRT/tanaka launched teaser videos on EAA's Web site and YouTube that discussed man's fascination with jetpacks and offered a sneak peak from the pilot's perspective of what it is like to fly the Martin Jetpack. • Target The New York Times and CNN with exclusive coverage opportunities to ensure strong international coverage. • Conduct pre-event interviews with the Associated Press and other outlets to ensure strong national day-of-launch coverage. • Give reporters the chance to fly the jetpack themselves. • To help sustain momentum, no reporters were given the opportunity to fly on the launch date. Instead, test flights occurred in the following days. Results By 5 a.m. the morning of the launch, the Martin Jetpack was featured on the front page of The New York Times, with multiple stories running across the Associated Press wire, reaching newsrooms around the world. Within the first two hours after the launch, media outlets from across the globe were requesting interviews with Glenn and his team. Within the first week, the results were staggering: • Media Coverage: o More than 1,000 broadcast hits across the U.S. including all major U.S. networks and seven of the top 20 markets. Both CNN and NBC’s “Today Show” carried live segments featuring reporters flying the device. o Front page coverage in The New York Times and London Telegraph. Stories also appeared in other national papers and globally in countries like Russia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, India, Australia, China and Japan. o Radio interviews in major markets in the U.S., Australia, U.K., New Zealand and Ireland. o The viral campaign generated 3,600 different mentions by bloggers, 250,000 views of online video segments across a dozen different channels, as well as ongoing discussions with the largest “tech” bloggers. o Coverage in technical outlets like Popular Science and Gizmodo continues to drive discussion among technical audiences. o News coverage and online discussions have created a pool of reporters who intend to track the progress of the Martin Jetpack. o Interviews with media outlets in more than 20 countries across four continents. o Broadcast coverage on the day of and day after launch generated more than 43 million media impressions and an estimated publicity value of close to $2 million. Totals are still being calculated, but the estimated media value is more than $20 million. o Prior to the campaign launch, the company had zero hits on Google. Within two weeks, that number had jumped to 460,000. • Investors/ Business Opportunities: o Multiple potential investors contacted the company about possible partnerships following the launch. o The company also was contacted about possible technology partnerships on other types of vehicles. o Media coverage generated several calls to Martin Aircraft from other aviation shows to demo the new jetpack. • Sales Leads o EAA calls the unveiling the hottest event staged at AirVenture in nearly a decade. o Several individuals placed orders on the spot and the sales team generated more than 40 “interested” leads at the show. o Web traffic exceeded 100,000 visitors in the first 48 hours. The “place an order page” on the Martin Jetpack Web site was the second most popular page after the “take a peak” video segment. o Media exposure created a pipeline of parties across the globe interested in serving as regional sales distributors in their respective countries.
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