National Geographic Channel this fall hits the open road with Honda, enlisting the automaker as presenting sponsor of the seven-part miniseries Great Migrations. Finalized on the cusp of the 2010-11 upfront market, the deal gives Honda a contextually apt environment in which to showcase the latest elements of its ongoing “Power of Dreams” campaign.
Per terms of the deal, Honda during Nat Geo’s Great Migrations run will roll out a new entry in its “Dream the Impossible” documentary series. Designed to celebrate human ingenuity and perseverance, the short films (six to eight minutes) feature such notables as IndyCar racer Danica Patrick and director Christopher Guest. Additional on-air elements include 30-second spots, trailers and a series of co-branded interstitials that will appear on Nat Geo in the run up to the premiere.
Riding shotgun with the linear TV effort, Honda creative will also appear across the network’s various digital extensions, including VOD, online and mobile. Offline opportunities (home video, licensed products, educational outreach, events) abound.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Industry sources estimate that the value of the package was in the seven-figure range.
Nat Geo calls Great Migrations its most ambitious programming initiative to date. In fact, the effort to collect the footage may well have been the most arduous undertaking in the 122-year history of the National Geographic Society. Three years in the making, the Great Migrations crew traveled 420,000 miles across 20 countries on all seven continents in order to bring the concept to life. It chronicles the epic seasonal journeys undertaken by a veritable menagerie of earth-bound and aquatic species.
“Thematically, there’s a natural alignment between the miniseries and Honda’s campaign,” said Rich Goldfarb, NGC’s svp, ad sales. “Great Migrations is all about movement on a grand scale, and Honda as a company is all about movement. It’s also about the lengths these animals go in order to sustain the life force, and that speaks to Honda’s very long-term interest in environmental sustainability.”
Honda’s media agency of record, Santa Monica, Calif.-based RPA, assisted in the development of the partnership. “This is such a relevant platform for our marketing,” said Barbara Ponce, Honda’s manager of corporate advertising. “The perseverance that stirs our engineers to explore new avenues of oil independence is evident in these stories.”
The deal coincides with a revitalization in the automotive category. Per Kantar Media, Honda in Q1 2010 spent $194.9 million in measured media, up 30 percent from $150 million in the year-ago period.