By Nancy Fletcher, President and CEO, Outdoor Advertising Association
Whether driving down the interstate, waiting at a train station, or visiting city centers like Times Square, consumers across the country were inspired by out of home (OOH) media featuring images from National Geographic’s Photo Ark – a bold, multi-year project aimed at saving animals at risk of extinction.
The Photo Ark images, call to action, and hashtag – See What We Can #SaveTogether Before It’s Too Late – were part of a multi-platform creative campaign, which was featured on a dynamic mix of billboards, digital displays, transit, cinema, and other OOH ad displays. In all, the images appeared on more than 72,000 donated ad spaces nationwide.
“We are a visual people who respond to powerful pictures.”
The campaign was a collaboration between the National Geographic Society and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the national trade association for the OOH advertising industry. The goal was simple: use Sartore’s portraits to educate and inspire action – protecting animals on the brink – in a way that would reach new and diverse audiences. It was the perfect pairing, to use the power of storytelling through stunning imagery, with a robust mix of ads to serve as the visual booster rocket for awareness and engagement.
“This was a game-changer,” Sartore said. “The campaign’s unique ads enabled us to put the plight of at-risk species in full view of new and diverse audiences with unprecedented nationwide reach.”
The campaign launched on Endangered Species Day (May 19, 2017), with a “takeover” in Times Square and other activities and events. An interactive component of the campaign invited people to visit a National Geographic photo station and take a selfie with a Photo Ark image. Visitors then had the opportunity to see their selfies appear on a Times Square digital billboard in real time.
Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC were among some of the other major cities that participated in the Endangered Species Day digital takeover for the #SaveTogether campaign.
In the first five days alone, the campaign reached more than 50 million people via the OOH ad displays. In addition, Sartore’s animal portraits also were featured across National Geographic’s channels including the magazine, books, and traditional and social media platforms. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) aired a three-part series, RARE, featuring the images.
The OOH campaign wrapped in September, reaching more than 600 million people on social media.
“In this era of division and hyper-partisanship, the National Geographic Photo Ark is a uniting cause. The Photo Ark has earned support and respect across the political spectrum, from Harrison Ford to hunters.”
Norton was one of the many OOH industry professionals drawn to Sartore’s impressive body of work. In May, Sartore was a top-rated speaker at OAAA’s national convention in New Orleans. Many in the audience responded to his call for help, wowed by the majesty of the striking images of the rare animals staring straight into the camera.
“It’s stories like this that are so rewarding,” Sartore said. “Engaging, creative advertising helped us accomplish what we set out to do – saving animals together, one image at a time, one person at a time.”
“Projects like this aren’t possible without great partnerships that harness the passion of like-minded organizations, like OAAA, to confront the serious issues facing our planet,” Sartore said.
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