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Think Inside the Box

Industry: Media & Publishing
Media:TV & Cinema
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Media?

We developed “Think Inside the Box” as a way of directly targeting qualified job candidates for Lockheed Martin Space. Rather than broadly targeting engineering candidates across the country, we instead chose to make a more meaningful impact at a select group of top engineering universities – such as Virginia Tech – where we could find the rising stars of aerospace engineering. Within hours, students were posting and sharing photos of The Box, which promoted even more students to try and introduced Lockheed Martin to thousands of highly-qualified candidates. Since launch, six students have won jobs through unlocking the box.


Lockheed Martin has been involved in virtually every American space mission since the early days of NASA. Yet, most people only know them as a defense contractor. As part of a full-scale rebranding of their Space business, Lockheed Martin needed to establish itself as a major influence in aerospace and, in doing so, attract the top engineering talent from across the country.

With new companies entering the aerospace industry every year - Space X, Amazon, etc. – the competition to recruit the best talent is only getting more intense. The space race of today is all about recruiting the brightest minds, and we needed to help Lockheed Martin get ahead of the competition. To do that, the brand had to be repositioned as a place where the most gifted students and engineers can contribute to humanity’s next giant leaps in deep space.

Describe the creative idea/insights (30% of vote)

To unlock the possibilities of the universe, Lockheed Martin Space must recruit the top engineering talent. But that kind of talent is sought after by countless other companies, and the brand needed to gain an edge in the recruitment space race. So, we went to the top engineering universities and gave students something a bit more challenging than a job application: a box. But not just any box. A 14-ft tall puzzle box that can only be unlocked if you’re able to solve one of the toughest real-world engineering problems.

Those who were skilled enough to unlock the box opened up a universe of opportunities. Once inside, they discovered a 360-degree audiovisual journey through the stars, culminating in a job offer to work for Lockheed Martin - where they can continue to unlock the possibilities of space, as well as opportunities for their careers.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

While Lockheed Martin has enjoyed decades of success as the predominant destination for these types of graduates, they found themselves being drowned out of the conversation and overlooked in favor of more modern, flashy options within Silicon Valley.

“Think Inside the Box” was designed to instantly force students to reimagine the Lockheed Martin they thought they knew, and thrust the company back into their consideration set as an aspirational and innovative employer of choice.

To do this, we tapped into something that truly great engineers simply can’t ignore: a great challenge. And we landed that challenge in the middle of their engineering campus.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

The Box made its campus debut at Virginia Tech on September 18–20, 2018. We teased its arrival through a mix of social media, email and online newsletters through the university, local news coverage, as well as other on-campus communication channels (bulletin boards, flyers, departmental outreach, brand ambassadors).

At Virginia Tech, The Box resided within the Institute of Creativity, Arts, and Technology, allowing for maximum foot traffic, while specifically targeting the university’s engineering talent. In addition to engaging with The Box and trying to crack its challenges, students had the opportunity to speak to Lockheed Martin recruiters on the spot or have an immediate opportunity to work there if they solved the most difficult “high-value” challenge.

This same blueprint has been followed as The Box continues to travel and reach students throughout the country, appearing at campuses and recruiting events in California, Texas and Maryland through 2019.

List the results (30% of vote)

Continuing on to key campuses and recruiting events across the country, there have been over 4,000 attempts to unlock the box. 486 students have unlocked the box by solving one of the four problems, and 6 remarkable students have won jobs by answering the nearly-impossible problem. And this is exactly what the box was designed to do: to identify the absolute best and brightest prospects. On average, students spent 8 hours solving the hardest equations, which is 30x longer than the average time of engagement for similar events. This gave Lockheed Martin the opportunity to connect with thousands of qualified candidates at each location, not just the six students who went on to win jobs.
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Media
Use of Ambient Media: Large Scale
D&AD 2019
Graphite Pencil Digital Design
Digital Environments
D&AD 2019
Shortlist Experiential
Use of Technology
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