2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the greatest technological feat of the 20th century—the Apollo 11 Mission. But before mankind took this giant leap, one man inspired a generation to make the jump.
In 1962, President JFK gave his now famous “Moonshot” speech at Rice University in which he outlined his audacious plans to put a man on the moon. This speech would go on to become one of the most quoted and celebrated speeches of all time, and JFK’s “Moonshot” would become synonymous with the idea of challenging the impossible.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission, the JFK Presidential Library and Museum wanted to introduce today’s generation to President Kennedy’s bold vision for the space program and this pivotal moment in history. After all, 62% of those alive today didn’t get a chance to experience the original moon landing. So how could the JFK Library inspire a new generation to challenge the impossible in the same way Kennedy inspired his?
The idea was to immerse a new generation, particularly Gen Z and Younger Millennials, into one of history’s greatest adventures by reimagining it for today. JFK Moonshot was a synchronised augmented reality recreation of Apollo 11 where every moment, manoeuvre, and milestone unfolded in real time, second-by-second, precisely 50 years later.
We developed a world-first interactive AR documentary app where users could take a deeper dive into President Kennedy’s vision for the mission with interactive AR games, archival NASA footage and educational multimedia experiences that allowed them to:
- Explore and launch an AR replica of the Saturn V rocket
- Track 100+ hours of the Apollo 11 mission in real time with archival NASA footage.
- Play AR games that dove deeper into the mission with JFK-related trivia questions
- Learn about JFK’s critical role in the moon landing through educational multimedia experiences
- Record and share the mission’s most epic moments with friends and family.
To heighten the experience and truly immerse our audience, we held a launch party at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum where visitors were greeted with one of the largest AR objects ever created—a 363-foot, full-scale replica of the Saturn V rocket.
To extend the reach of the event, we livestreamed the AR launch and entire mission on the popular gaming platform, Twitch. We then leveraged some of Twitch’s most popular streamers, Dr. Lupo, DazValdez and Seum to provide a “play through” of the action—a modern version of Walter Cronkite’s commentary 50 years ago.
And at precisely 9:32 AM on July 16th, the Saturn V rocket launched once again. Only this time, instead of watching it with binoculars and Super 8 cameras, thousands used their mobile phones and tablets to witness history in the making. And for those around the world not in attendance at the Library, JFK Moonshot allowed kids of all ages to launch their own virtual rockets anywhere and share it on social media.
For the next four days, users of the app could track the mission in augmented reality as events unfolded. We continued streaming the mission on Twitch non-stop, where streamer BonsaiBaby re-enacted and simul-casted moments from the mission.
Educational prompts would pop up throughout this tracking sequence for over 100 hours of rare, archival JFK and NASA footage. Viewers could even practice their own moon landings with interactive AR games that simulated actual NASA astronaut tests while also testing their JFK knowledge.
During the course of the campaign, the JFK Presidential Library and Museum reversed the nationwide trend of declining museum attendance with a 5% increase in attendance, along with:
- rocket launches around the world
- downloads of the app
- more social mentions than competitive museums
- global brand impressions
Furthermore, a post campaign survey revealed an 11% increase related to JFK inspiring “innovation in American science and technology” and the app has received a 4.6 star rating in the Apple app store, Tim Cook even featured the project in his 2019 Apple Keynote speech.
John F. Kennedy Library Foundation: JFK Moonshot
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission, we developed a world-first interactive AR documentary app where users could take a deeper dive into President Kennedy’s vision for the mission.