×

Nat Geo’s ‘Genius’ Offers Thoughts on How to Surround a Show With New Ad Formats

Albert Einstein is, in his own way, helping to give rise to a new form of TV advertising that has everything to do with a particular TV show but fewer ties to its traditional broadcast.

As part of the launch,of”Genius,” its first scripted series, National Geographic  is working with GSK Consumer Healthcare, part of the large GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical manufacturer, on a companion digital and social initiative that debuts Tuesday evening. After tonight’s episode, fans can check out “Chasing Genius,” an online hub where the 21st Century Fox-owned network will solicit ideas to help solve big challenges facing the world. The three ideas The three ideas that generate the greatest engagement and conversation will be selected for further development, and the individuals who generated those ideas will each be awarded $25,000. Each step will be on display at www.natgeochasinggenius.com and across Nat Geo’s social platforms.

The digital effort springs from “Genius,” which is based on Walter Isaacson’s book “Einstein: His Life and Universe”  and executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

TV advertisers are putting more thought into how their brands can be part of online activity surrounding TV programs, realizing that fans of the shows are seeking to interact with the content, even when a fresh episode is not broadcasting on the air.”We knew people would be going to explore more about the show online,” said Rachel Baumgarten, a managing director of Content Collective, part of Omnicom Group’s Omnicom Media Group. Earlier this year, Pepsi expanded its association with Fox’s musical drama “Empire” by attaching itself to digital video series that give “Empire” fans more plot and background to the show. Similarly, Honda took part in digital-video content attached to another Fox drama, “Star.”

“Every element and touch point of the Nat Geo brand is pushing out and telling a story,” said Brendan Ripp, executive vice president of brand partnerships at National Geographic.

The deal came together during a special session curated by Omnicom that brings its clients together for special pitches from a range of media outlets. The most recent showcase, dubbed a “Final Front,” included presentations from NBCUniversal, Viacom, Vice, CW, Conde Nast, BuzzFeed, AwesomenessTV, PopSugar, Upworthy and LiveNation. During the proceedings, Grazer  offered a look at the “Chasing Genius” idea, which would use crowdsourcing to gain insights to solve global challenges.

“‘Genius’ is about creativity and imagination rooted in science,” said Theresa Agnew, chief marketing officer U.S. at GSK Consumer Healthcare. “I just thought there was a natural fit there.” PHD, an Omnicom media buying and planning agency that works for GSK, helped put the deal in place.

“The content that surrounds the show is as important as the show itself,” she noted, “but the show is what generates the initial consumer interest.”

As part of the deal,  National Geographic will create promotional videos for GSK Consumer Healthcare products like  Excedrin, Sensodyne and Flonase Sensimist that are creating with the writing team behind “Genius”  and tied to some of the storytelling values of the series.

More TV

  • 'Fleabag' Season 2 Review: How Its

    'Fleabag': Season 2’s Top 10 Breaks From Reality, Ranked (Column)

    The searing first season of “Fleabag” felt like a complete story in and of itself. As adapted from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show, the series expanded on the world of a woman wild with lust and grief with such expert ease that by the time it ended, even Waller-Bridge herself was sure that it was the [...]

  • Richard Madden Says 'Game of Thrones'

    Richard Madden Says the 'Game of Thrones' Cast Deserves a Medal

    Richard Madden is thankful for his time on “Game of Thrones,” but is also happy to have been able to move on when he did. The “Bodyguard” star sat down with “Sharper Objects'” Amy Adams for Variety’s Actors on Actors, where he expressed some incredulity at the idea of spending so long with just one [...]

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song

    Netherlands' Duncan Laurence Wins 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

    Madonna’s controversial performance may have grabbed the headlines, but Duncan Laurence won the nearly four-hour-long 2019 Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with the song “Arcade,” which he cowrote with Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy. Laurence won a total of 492 points from the expert juries and televoters in a contest that was touch and [...]

  • 'SNL' Cold Open Has Alec Baldwin's

    'SNL' Cold Open Has Alec Baldwin's Trump Rocking Out to Queen

    The cold open for the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” saw the Trump administration taking some liberties with a rock classic. Alec Baldwin returned as President Donald Trump, letting America know that he is going to be taking it easy now that summer is nearly here. He then said he was going to do [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content