Pima Air and Space Museum: The Great Paper Airplane Project

By Hannah Paxton

Pima Air and Space Museum set out to increase attendance by sponsoring The Great Paper Airplane Project and creating the microsite Greatpaperairplane.org for a bottom-up OEP approach. To attract a younger generation, Pima provided the incentive of turning the winner’s paper airplane into a 45-foot model that would be launched in the Arizona desert.

Younger mothers were hesitant to bring their children to the museum because they found it to be a symbol of “over-militarization.” These mothers had the rational need of feeling like they were providing their child with an enriching educational experience that was not being met.

To lower the age of attendees, Pima knew they had to engage the younger demographic by easing the harsh image and encompassing the purpose of the museum: to show how science and engineering can change the world. Pima provided an entertaining hands-on contest and documented it through the microsite as well as carefully constructed Twitter and Facebook posts.

The winner, Alturo Valdenegro, worked with a team of engineers to make his design into the world’s largest paper airplane. This process was blogged and made into a documentary to disperse on Pima’s owned platforms.

The successful project was measured by the Pima’s visitorship survey, which showed the campaign’s target age range of 26-40 more than doubled. The video seeding which was done through owned media earned a huge spotlight and was covered by giants such as Time Magazine and CNN.

(Owned Media, Incentive, Contest, Pima Air and Space Museum, The Great Paper Airplane Project, Time Magazine, CNN)

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