Sterling teamed with Arx Pax – the creator of the Hendo Hoverboard – to develop and execute the company’s first-ever technology and Kickstarter campaign launch. The initial phase of Sterling’s two-phase approach was centered on building credibility in an area rife with media skeptics thanks to the Funny or Die hoax earlier in 2014. The second phase of this launch entailed amplifying the message via social media channels by letting astronaut Buzz Aldrin and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk take a spin on the board and share their reactions with their respective audiences.
As an integrated communications agency, Sterling leveraged its PR, video, SEO, and social media teams to achieve unparalleled results for Arx Pax. Sterling sent the company’s Kickstarter campaign soaring past its Kickstarter funding goal in just 36 hours. Below are a few metrics that highlight Arx Pax’s epic launch:
- 1M+ views via YouTube for the Sterling-produced Kickstarter video in the first 45 days
- 1,400+ unique articles published, including 930+ unique articles/broadcast footage appearing in the first 48 hours from top-tier outlets including The New York Times, Forbes, Re/code, The Guardian, The Verge, CNET, CNN, Engadget, Good Morning America, and many, many more
- 202,000+ social mentions of “Hendo Hoverboard” in just 30 days
- Celebrity rides from Buzz Aldrin and Tony Hawk (TMZ broke the news on Tony’s ride)
- Hendo Hoverboard listed in the first spot on TIME’s Top 25 Inventions of 2014
- Dozens of meeting requests from potential strategic partners ranging from transportation to entertainment
- Incoming requests from conference organizers, including TED, to present on stage at future events
PR/Social Media Strategy
A key component of our launch strategy was to establish credibility from the get-go. To do this, we invited media to ride the hoverboard, capture video footage, and share those videos along with their respective articles. With the negative sentiments surrounding the Funny or Die hoax, it was imperative for us to strategically introduce the Hendo Hoverboard to the world through the experiences of respected journalists who had tried it firsthand.
Being mindful of the potential backlash from pent-up hoverboard enthusiasts, we initially steered clear of celebrity visits and focused on winning consumers’ trust through a wide range of print, online, radio, and broadcast coverage. Arx Pax’s Kickstarter video made a huge splash and went viral in two days, but we did not rely on the Sterling-produced video to convince our audience that hoverboards are real. Instead, we relied on purposeful media outreach, largely those with video crews, to avoid mass skepticism and maintain positive sentiment throughout the campaign.
Once we established credibility, our team atomized Arx Pax messaging across social channels, engaging with folks via the Hendo Hover accounts, and built a strong community of hoverboard followers. To heighten awareness in the social sphere, we made connections with a few celebrity influencers and invited them to ride the hoverboard, too. With a credible foundation and a large spike in interest due to the celebrity visits, we were able to bring Arx Pax hover technology to the forefront of mainstream consciousness. In fact, CNET posted a cartoon that had Apple’s iPad Air 2 team saying, “Maybe we should have made it a hoverboard!”
As the PR team geared up for a quick and targeted launch, Sterling’s creative team hopped onboard to produce what would become our most viewed video to date. For the storyline, our team chose an approach focused on humanizing the hoverboard, showing the product in action, and providing a clear call to action for the Kickstarter campaign.
We aimed to evoke the wonder and limitless imagination of a child by telling the story of the Hendo Hoverboard through the eyes of a curious young inventor. By using cool-temperature lighting, slow-motion shots in 4k resolution, and inspirational music, we were able to connect viewers with their inner child. We kept the script minimal and let the visuals do the talking. In fact, the only two words spoken in the narrative highlighted the message we wanted the audience walking away with: “It’s real.” To wrap up the video, we introduced the audience to the founders, shared details about about the Kickstarter campaign and let them know how to get involved.
After the Kickstarter campaign launched (and our video was published to YouTube), our team focused on using video production to transition viewers from awestruck to informed. To continue the momentum, we produced three additional videos: an educational video centered on the Whitebox developer kits to underscore Arx Pax’s mission of inspiring global co-creation; a Milestone video to showcase skateboard legend Tony Hawk’s experience on the hoverboard; and a donation-based video for Veterans Day to tap into a cause that’s near and dear to Arx Pax. Sterling’s social team published and atomized each video to grow the community and heighten public awareness.
It’s a Wrap
The focus and finesse that Sterling brought to the campaign proved invaluable. With our dynamic skillset and a passionate team, we were able to build a brand from the ground up, employing our core offerings and establishing Arx Pax’s hover technology as not only credible but genuine.
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