- Ad agency Digitas is creating an augmented reality (AR) app experience that chronicles the first manned mission to land on the moon 50 years ago for the the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer and first made at the IAB's Digital Content NewFronts this week.
- The app aims to immerse the smartphone generation in a documentary about JFK’s vision for the moon landing, and has interactive AR games, archival video footage and historical artifacts of his presidency. Digitas and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will host a commemorative ceremony highlighting the app's features, which include an AR launch of the Saturn V rocket that carried American astronauts into space.
- Digitas developed the app with content production studio Unit9. "JFK Moonshot" will be available to download on Apple and Android smartphones on May 29, the birth date of President John F. Kennedy, who called for an ambitious space exploration program amid an intense rivalry with the Soviet Union.
Digitas' AR activation not only aims to educate a new generation about JFK and his historic plans for a manned moon landing, but also showcases the agency's creative and technical prowess in creating AR experiences that can be applied to mobile marketing campaigns for advertisers. Developing superior technology was an important goal for the U.S. space program during the height of the Cold War, especially after the Soviet Union stunned the world by launching the first artificial satellite in 1957 and sending the first human into orbit in 1961. JFK's goals for manned spaceflight still haven't been surpassed, and a manned flight to Mars is years away.
But the idea for "JFK Moonshot" came about as Digitas research showed that younger generations didn't have any idea about JFK's role in the moon landing or the space program, according to The Drum. After reviewing JFK's 1962 speech about the moon landing, Digitas decided the campaign needed to be relevant to today's tech-savvy teens and young adults who have shifted their viewing habits to mobile platforms. The goal is to make the app experience rich enough that smartphone users don't delete it after a single try — a common problem with AR, especially as the initial novelty of the immersive technology, which first reached mainstream attention with the launch of Pokemon Go three years ago, wears off.
The JFK Library has made the former president's role in the space program a key part of its marketing and publicity efforts this year. Defense and aerospace giant Raytheon this year donated $1.5 million to the library to support its educational initiatives, including Digitas' AR experience.
While AR might be losing some of its freshness as a nascent tech, it still provides opportunities for companies across a number of categories that are looking to reach mobile audiences. Brands, including brewer Miller Lite, retailer Tillys and sportswear maker Puma, have all recently harnessed AR to engage smartphone users in more immersive experiences. Worldwide spending on AR and virtual reality is forecast to grow 68.8% to about $20.4 billion this year, according to the International Data Corporation.