AIA Crowdfunding Effort Taking NASA Ad to Cineplex

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The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), an Arlington, Va.-based lobbying organization, has raised more than $42,000 to help place a NASA advertisement in 59 movie theaters for eight weeks across the United States.

The NASA video ad will run before “Star Trek Into Darkness” — the next chapter in the rebooted “Star Trek” franchise — when it debuts May 17.

After setting up a campaign March 26 on the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.com, officials from the AIA met their initial $33,000 goal in six days with the help of more than 1,000 backers.

“By backing this 30-second trailer in the top movie theater markets around the United States, you can show our students and young people that we’re in an exciting new era of space exploration,” officials from the AIA wrote on the campaign page. “Now is the time to reach them — to remind them that an inspiring space program awaits, one that is worthy of their ambition.”

The 30-second spot will be a cut-down version of a 2.5-minute video called “We are the Explorers” produced by NASA last year. Narrated by Peter Cullen — the voice of Optimus Prime in the “Transformers” movie series — the video details the past and possible future of the space agency.

“Right now men and women are working on the next steps to go farther than we have ever gone before,” Cullen said in his narration. “New vessels will carry us, and new destinations await us.”

This campaign comes on the heels of a March 22 announcement that NASA outreach activities will be scaled back because of sequestration. Due to the series of across-the-board budget cuts that took effect March 1, NASA officials have suspended many of the agency’s public outreach programs in place to get children and adults involved in the space program.

The AIA seems to be trying to pick up where NASA left off. Officials with the space agency are not legally allowed to use NASA funds to buy advertisement time, but the AIA, as a private organization, is under no such obligation.

“By funding this campaign, we can remind students and the general public that our nation’s space agency is working hard on the next era of exploration,” AIA officials wrote in the campaign statement. “Keeping the public informed of NASA’s activities is a key element of sustaining the health of our space program.”

While the campaign has met its initial goal, AIA officials have set a new funding goal they hope to reach before the end of the month. If the campaign raises $94,000 or more, the NASA advertisement will be placed in 750 theaters in the United States.

AIA’s IndieGoGo campaign is accepting donations until May 1.