History debuts new interactive site

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A&E Television Networks media property History has partnered with digital agency HUGE for a new interactive Web site promoting the launch of the new show Expedition Africa on The History Channel.

The site was launched as part of a multiplatform marketing campaign that also includes online video, social media, out-of-home and TV ads. The site features eight interactive promotional landscapes that correspond to each episode of the show, as well as videos, photos and interactive games. The idea behind this design strategy was to bring the show to life on the Web.

“Our primary goal was to create a rich immersive experience to go along with the program,” said Aaron Shapiro, partner at HUGE.

As each episode airs, the Web site is updated with new themes, content and video. The site's design includes an intuitive navigation to helps visitors move across the site based on interest area. For example, if you click on the 3-D giraffe, it will take you to content on African wildlife.

“The show is very cinematic and adventurous and we wanted to replicate these themes on the site,” said Doug Halsey, senior director, digital media at History. We wanted to make it more akin to what you would see for a movie promotion online. It is highly interactive and has a lot of Flash and HTML design, without sacrificing search engine optimization.”

Subaru is the presenting sponsor for the show and for the site as well. The car company has banner ads throughout the site, and also sponsors an interactive advergame. Playing on the theme of exploration in the show, the game lets players take a quiz to determine how adventurous they are and then recommend a feature of the Subaru Outback that would complement such a lifestyle.

There is also another game on the site which is designed around the expeditions of the show. Players can act like explorers themselves and fight to survive in the wild. The game has been a hit on the iPhone, making the Top 50 apps list. It also has viral capabilities, and can be shared on Facebook.

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