- National Geographic and Procter & Gamble (P&G) are debuting a new multi-platform storytelling partnership and documentary series, "Activate," according to news shared with Marketing Dive. The effort was co-produced with the organization Global Citizen and production studio RadicalMedia
- "Activate" spans six episodes and will premier in fall 2019. The series examines different issues connected to extreme poverty, including clean drinking water and sanitation, racial bias and criminalization of poverty, girls' education, responsible sourcing, plastic waste and disaster relief. It will feature activists and celebrities Uzo Aduba, Rachel Brosnahan, Hugh Jackman, Gayle King, Usher and Pharrell Williams.
- The partnership also includes a 12-page custom print section for "Activate" in National Geographic's September issue, as well as custom digital articles and social media moments for P&G brands, including Tide, Always, Charmin and Head & Shoulders. "Activate" will be supported by content distributed across Nat Geo's social, digital, linear and print channels.
By partnering with Nat Geo on the "Activate" series, P&G can further commitments of leveraging its brands to promote social good and address important issues. The partnership also aligns with the CPG giant's efforts to create and deliver higher quality content to audiences versus relying on purely product-driven advertising.
"Brands affect nearly every person on the planet, every day, and can be agents of change — individually and collectively," P&G's Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard said in a statement around the news. "We believe one of the best ways to solve the challenges facing our world is for brands to spark conversations that mobilize people to take action."
This approach has manifested in more strategic business moves for P&G recently as well. The company last week acquired the purpose-driven feminine care marketer This Is L. The creator of popular L.-branded tampons, pads, liners and wipes, which are made with organic cotton, donates to causes that improve girls and women's access to feminine care products around the world.
Consumers are growing to expect brands to take such stands on social issues. Sixty-four percent of global consumers now choose to purchase from or boycott a brand based on its political or social positions, according to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study. Consumers also increasingly view businesses as change-makers, with 53% of respondents believing they can do more to solve social problems than governments.
"Activate" also shows how Nat Geo is continuing to build out its branded content partnerships as a means to strengthen revenue outside of traditional advertising for its print and digital offerings. The publisher recently teamed up with Heineken on "A Wild Lager Story," which tracked the story behind a beer made from rare wild yeast recently discovered in Patagonia. The campaign included a three-minute documentary and branded articles, along with social, digital and linear elements.