Young engineers attempt to crack open a mysterious six-ton box in experiential challenge from Lockheed Martin

McCann follows up award-winning "Field Trip to Mars" with effort targeting older students

Published On
Oct 12, 2018

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Lockheed Martin and McCann previously captured kids'--and the industry's--imagination on the celebrated “Field Trip to Mars,” the "group VR" experience that treated a school bus full of children to a view of the Red Planet. Now the team is back, with a campaign geared toward an older group of students, engineering undergrads who are close to taking their first steps out of college and into the job market.

Late last month, a 14-foot high box showed up on the campus of Virginia Tech. Nearly 900 students took turns trying to crack it open by answering complex engineering questions presented by a video interface built into its side. Almost a hundred made it in and were treated to an immersive, holographic trip through the stars (along with a recruitment pitch from Lockheed Martin).

The trio that correctly answered the most complicated question, a conundrum about satellite communication that Lockheed had had to solve itself recently, won $10,000 from the school. (If you want to try your hand at cracking it, check out the question here.)

While engineers from Lockheed selected the questions, the creative team at McCann spearheaded creation of the massive, hollow box. “We loved the idea of putting what is infinite--space--into a finite structure, but in order to make the experience feel believable the box had to be a certain scale,” says Mat Bisher, executive creative director at McCann Worldgroup. The design needed to inspire but also appeal to cooler-than-thou college kids. “You need to make real impact real quick with them.”

The final product was a collaboration between the agency, architect Mercia May Jensen and production companies Will O’Rourke and Traction 3D. “It weighs about 6 tons,” Bisher says. “Structurally it has an internal truss constructed out of laser-cut and CNCd bent aluminum TIG welded, and an automotive high gloss paint finish, complete with its own internal HVAC system.” That kept the inside from being sweltering when winners entered to watch the video, created by McCann and Traction.

Though the Virginia tech contest is over, the box will be making the rounds at other engineering schools and recruiting events across the country (with brand new questions).


Oct 12, 2018
Client :
Lockheed Martin
Agency :
McCann NY
Chief Creative Officer :
Eric Silver
Chief Creative Officer :
Sean Bryan
Chief Creative Officer :
Tom Murphy
EVP, Executive Creative Director :
Mat Bisher
EVP, Executive Creative Director :
Dan Donovan
VP, Group Creative Director :
Josh Grossberg
VP, Creative Director :
Vince Lim
VP, Creative Director :
Jason Ashlock
VP, Creative Director :
Dom Bacollo
Associate Creative Director :
Dan Colburn
Associate Creative Director :
Jesse Yowell
EVP, Chief Production Officer :
Nathy Aviram
SVP, Producer Innovation :
Christine Lane
Innovation Producer :
Phoebe Chao
Innovation Producer :
Courtney Fallow
Senior Content Producer :
Eric Perini
Senior Content Producer :
Sebastian Savino
EVP, Managing Director :
Kevin Nelson
SVP, Executive Account Director :
Darla Price
VP, Account Director :
Rik Koletar
Account Supervisor :
Ramon Cruz
Project Manager :
Jen Corbia
Agency :
Traction Creative
SVP of Communications :
Jennifer Whitlow
VP, External Communications :
Bill Phelps
Global Marketing Communications Director :
Jane Walter
Advertising and Branding Manager :
Bo Edwards
Director of External Communications, Space :
Matt Kramer
Marketing Communications, Space :
Alex Walker

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