A new advertising campaign seeks to turn Florida's vacationers into "Vacationauts" by encouraging people to incorporate rocket launches and other space adventures into their trips.
Space Florida, a state-run space development agency, has teamed up with Paradise Advertising to launch the world's first publicly funded space advertising campaign. The agency is using multimedia to inspire people in Florida to add some space to their fun in the sun.
Florida isn't just a popular place to hit the beach, visit amusement parks and ride roller coasters. It's also a great place for space fans, with both NASA's Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral launch sites just a short drive from Orlando, a tourist hotspot. [See More Vactionaut Space Tourism Posters]
Space Florida's "WeAreGoFL" advertising campaign launched Sept. 23 and covers every aspect of multimedia, from funny television ads about Vacationauts to a mobile app and 1960s-inspired vintage poster ads.
The campaign also has an active social media presence on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where people can join the conversation by using the hashtag #Vacationauts. And what's a good social media campaign without GIFs? [Photos: NASA's Kennedy Space Center]
Becoming a Vacationaut is free, and users can sign up with the We Are Go Vacationauts mobile app or visit the group's website: WeAreGoFL.com. The app allows users to locate and check in at Florida's space-related attractions, such as the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, and the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral.
WeAreGoFL also offers trip-planning resources for vacationers looking for non-space-related activities, like visiting local parks or hanging out on the beach. The app includes a map with the best beach spots for viewing rocket launches.
Checking in on social media at various Vacationaut stops allows users to earn up to 26 badges and rise in the ranks to become a "Vacationaut Captain." But there are other ways to earn badges without checking in somewhere. For example, the Vacationauts app is filled with polls and quizzes that provide badges upon completion.
Educational quizzes test your knowledge of all things space, and include questions on Mars, the moon and the Milky Way galaxy. But the quizzes are not all about space trivia. Others are more like questionnaires that help Vacationauts answer questions like these: What kind of alien would you be? What kind of space food are you? What planet should you really live on? Would you survive in a space colony?
A few lucky prospective Vacationauts also have the chance to win a Vacationauts mission kit, which includes a vintage-style metal lunch box, astronaut ice cream and other cool Vacationaut supplies.
Terry Preston, a spokesperson for WeAreGoFL, said the campaign is "planning a handful of giveaways in the coming months via social media, the We Are Go Vacationauts website and engagement on the We Are Go Vacationauts app. These giveaways will also include pens, patches and more."
Preston said the poster images will be available for download at WeAreGoFL.com beginning in mid-October.
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Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at FutureFlight.aero and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at Space.com. As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.