Here’s one of our biggest fears: The Harvard Business School will, some day soon, write another case study about National Geographic, and ask: What happened to this once-beloved, once-revered Brand?
Exhibit A will be initiatives like this “special advertising section” (above) “brought to you by Dupont.”
Give it a quick glance, and you’d think it’s similar to Shell’s sponsorship of NG’s Great Energy Challenge — with a corporate logo and a “message from [company name here]” tucked respectfully off to the side of the main content, which is produced by National Geographic.
But unlike the Shell deal, this entire “Global Collaboratory” is one long message from, for, and by Dupont. The words are ad copy. The links go to more ads for Dupont. And while that “special advertising section” tag is intended to give NGS distance and deniability, it’s embarrassingly obvious that National Geographic took the money from Dupont, and then said, in effect: You paid our price, so go ahead — have your way with our Brand.
Even the link that took us to Dupont’s Global Collaboratory gives the game away:
“NGco-branded“? But we thought this was a “special advertising section.”
Why is selling the Brand this way
a good thing for our Society?
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