National Geographic Channel is pulling out all the stops to promote its special on the Galapagos Islands.
“Galapagos” will air Sunday, March 18, in the middle of rival network Discovery’s 11-part series “Planet Earth.” Discovery is planning its largest campaign ever to back that series.
National Geographic’s campaign starts today.
“We feel as an organization it’s our responsibility not only to do the show, but to reach out to people in new and unique ways to tell them that it’s important, why it’s important and why you should care,” said Michael Cascio, National Geographic Channel’s senior VP of special programming. “A lot of people have heard of the Galapagos and have not seen it in this way, or don’t understand why it is such a special, rare place, other than the big turtles.”
Built around the theme “A place like no other,” and the campaign is designed to show off the spectacular imagery from the series—an approach that will help the network promote its high-definition services as well, said Kiera Hyninnen, senior VP, marketing and media strategy.
For the first time, the network has created co-branded spots for cable operators in high definition.
On-air, the network will be doing longer teases for “Galapagos” than it has done for other programming.
A joint venture between National Geographic Society and Fox, the series also will be getting support from the other Fox cable networks. Promos will air in theaters, on JetBlue flights and on News Corp.’s giant billboard in Times Square.
DVDs of the first 15 minutes of the show are being given away free with purchase at the 863 Petco stores. Petco also is promoting the show in the 33 million circulars it distributes.
In addition to Petco, advertisers on the show include Genworth Financial, Xerox and Liberty Mutual.
“Galapagos” also will be promoted online, with short-form clips about the famed Galapagos tortoises, marine iguanas and other unique creatures. The channel also has put together a music video featuring the sights and sounds from the show.
After the show airs, it will be available on video-on-demand for four days, which will help promote the network’s HD channel. Comcast will promote the show as a top pick on its VOD menu.
The show also will be promoted by the National Geographic Society in its magazine, Web sites and through a direct-mail piece. The network has produced lesson plans based on the show that are being sent to 1,000 teachers.
With 53 million subscribers, National Geographic had its highest-rated show in 2005 with “Inside 9/11,” which drew a 3.6 household rating. It ranked 39th in total viewers among basic-cable networks in 2006.