Smash Unveils History Channel, PBS Campaigns Strategy Is to Make the Past ‘Alive and Relevant’ for Viewers

Smash Advertising’s latest efforts for the History Channel and PBS’ Nova series attempt to personalize past events and contemporary issues, such as bioterrorism, for today’s audience.

In a 30-second im-age ad for the History Channel titled “The Experience,” dramatic footage of deep-sea divers, military campaigns and rocket launches are shown. A voiceover says, “Have you ever dreamed of exploring another world? Could you witness something new, push boundaries or reach for your greatest hope? The experience of every generation is yours on the History Channel.”

A second, similarly themed ad is currently in production. Both are expected to break in January.

The tagline, “Where the past comes alive,” is being retained from recent campaigns.

To help the History Channel connect with potential viewers, an effort was made to layer the commercials with moments that contemporary audiences can relate to. “Part of the [strategy] is about how [the History Channel] can make history alive and relevant for people,” said Linda Button, creative director at Boston-based Smash. The agency tried to convey that “when you’re watching the History Channel, you can experience moments in history vicariously.”

Separately, Smash recently broke black and white print advertisements and a 30-second TV commercial for PBS, promoting a Nova special on bioterrorism. The commercial shows recent images from the news with words onscreen that read, “In the war against bioterror, our best defense is knowledge.”