Creative solutions from National Geographic Channel, and Sephora

National Geographic Channel
Dinosaur game plays well with TV


The National Geographic Channel was looking for a way to extend its online efforts for TV specials in order to drive viewer engagement online. Online col­lateral includes a microsite designed to bring the on-air experience to the Web.

The company “wanted to increase the time spent on site,” says Matt Zymet, director of digital media content for National Geographic Channel. With two dinosaur TV specials, Dino Death Trap and Dino Au­topsy, scheduled to air in December, this seemed like a good time to try something new.


The interactive team at National Geographic Channel turned to agency Arkadium to create a customized game that would educate visitors on three key periods of time when dinosaurs ruled the continents: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. The game was housed on

The Web site included an interactive timeline that explored several dinosaur mummy finds. Viewers could uncover the strange new dinosaurs caught in

the Dino Death Trap and interact with 3-D profiles of each. Arkadium used the same 3-D models as in the specials to allow players to build a dinosaur and watch it race off of the screen into the next round of play.

“National Geographic wanted to try to experiment with creating games that were still relevant to the content,” says Zymet.

The campaign was promoted with banner ads online and through on-air programming references.


The game launched on December 3, while the shows premiered on December 9. During the specials’ airtime, “Fossil Hunt” became the site’s most-visited interactive feature, with an average playing time of more than seven minutes.

The game led to about 8% of the traffic for the site while the show was being aired.

National Geographic Channel is currently work­ing on a microsite-based game for another two-part special, Fight Science.

-Nathan Golia
Virtual jobs work

Situation: Testing new ways to engage job seekers, online job board, with This Second Marketing, launched virtual jobs in Second Life. Fifty kiosks with job listings were placed in the virtual community. “is using this new medium to engage with job seekers in a different way,” said Ellen Miehl, senior affiliate marketing manager at

Results: In six months, there were over 30,000 virtual job transactions and over 8,000 Second Lifers clicked through to CareerBuild­’s Second Life venue. The kiosks will stay up through the spring.

-Chantal Todé


Beauty turns viral

Situation: To identify highly influential cus­tomers and build its e-mail and mailing lists, Sephora partnered with viral marketing firm PopularMedia Inc. Sephora asked its e-mail list to visit the In Girl microsite, where users could nominate others via e-mail to In Girl status, a fashion-savvy label applied by peers and Sephora. Visitors opt-in to take a trend-spotting quiz, allowing Sephora to gather data.

Results: Five percent of the girls who solic­ited nominations recruited 40% of the total traffic to the microsite.

-Mary Elizabeth Hurn


Michael Ventura, creative director, Seed Gives Life

I really enjoyed the National Geographic campaign. The issue with many mini-games is that they become overly complex. This is short, effective, and completely related to the on-air content. From a creative standpoint, the art direction was on par with the brand. The design for the Sephora campaign is almost too straightforward. Sephora, albeit a minimalist brand, came up short on delivering something engaging. The art and copy could have put more emphasis on describing what an “in girl” is and its value proposition. I am a fan of brands willing to try something new. The integration with in Second Life is a smart and logical fit. I found the strategy and execution of the campaign to make sense and clearly convey the brand attributes to consumers.

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