WINNER: Unistellar and Bospar
CAMPAIGN NAME: Bospar Takes Unistellar to New Heights
The consumer telescope market has long been dominated by three companies — Meade, Vaonis and Celestron — but the pandemic offered an unusual opportunity for another player, Unistellar. The manufacturer of the eVscope argued that its telescope is more than a tool for armchair astronomers, it is also the basis for building a community of citizen scientists.
When public health authorities mandated shelter-at-home measures, the side effects for some people included boredom, loneliness and a longing for connection. Homeschooling presented its own challenges, with parents struggling to make lessons more relevant and less abstract.
Unistellar’s PR efforts positioned the eVscope as a way for novices and professional astronomers to collaborate while also providing its owners with a meaningful connection to the cosmos. Outdoor viewing events and dinner gatherings allowed participants to socialize safely while further building a citizen-astronomer community.
These branding efforts were aided by two big names: Apophis and Patroclus. The first is a 340-meter-wide asteroid that will pass near Earth in 2029. Citizen scientists met on Unistellar social media groups and used the company’s app to share details about the asteroid and build a resource of scientific data. Patroclus is another asteroid, one circulating Jupiter, that Tim Russ (star of Star Trek: Voyager) and other amateur astronomers detected.
Unistellar’s pandemic PR push resulted in an increase of website traffic of 332% year over year and praise such as this from Mashable: “In a year of isolation, this $3,000 telescope may have changed citizen astronomy forever.” The judges agree: “A brilliant campaign from top to bottom.”