To celebrate the launch of its new “Explorer Academy” fiction series for kids, National Geographic created a recruitment center pop-up that offered interactive tests and activities, from a mini archeological dig to encountering live snakes to conducting experiments in a lab. The one-day event, which took place on Sept. 5 in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, celebrated the first installment, Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secre, in the seven-book series written by Trudi Trueit for middle-schoolers.
“National Geographic is doing fiction in a big way for the first time,” says Jennifer Emmett, svp, National Geographic Kids. “Why would we do that, given that we are a leading nonfiction publisher, and our publishing formula at National Geographic is facts, photos and all things animal? Well, we really wanted to hook kids on exploration in a new way and with Trudi Trueit we found a way to do that.”
The book is inspired by the real adventures, science and exploration of National Geographic explorers. At the event, activities were inspired by characters and plot twists within the book. In addition to the activation in New York City, which occurred one day after the book was published and during back-to-school week, the marketing campaign includes a presence at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., movie theater promotions, a 500-kid brand ambassador program, transmedia scavenger hunts and consumer advertising.
“We’re already seeing kids getting hooked on this,” Emmett says. “We’re trying to encourage kids to take on the mindset of explorers and help us save our planet.” Agency: The Michael Alan Group, New York City.
INSIDE THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC RECRUITMENT CENTER POP-UP:
Photo courtesy: Craig Barritt/Getty Images
for National Geographic