DuPont spends 75% of its research budget answering three questions: How will we feed a growing population? How will we decrease our dependency on fossil fuels? How will we protect people and the environment? The Fortune 100 company has a 210-year history of scientific discovery (Nylon, Teflon, Kevlar, Nomex).
In our ever-expanding world, DuPont believes collaboration is the way to tackle humanity’s challenges over the next decade around food, energy and protection—but business decision-makers and DuPont employees, alike, understood little of the company’s breadth and capabilities outside of their own silos.
Having avoided advertising for 30 years, DuPont would not splash $100 million on a traditional campaign—or even a tenth of that.
Therefore, OgilvyEntertainment created The Horizons Project to economically create content that would reestablish the company as a scientific thought leader amongst business decision-makers. Out of The Horizons Project was bornHorizons, a 20-episode broadcast series developed independently by BBC World News that investigates companies making the greatest differences in their sectors over the next decade. Horizons was supported by Stories of Inclusive Innovation, a series of 12 documentary-style commercials manifesting DuPont collaborations in action.
BBC World News was selected as a partner on the basis of its enthusiasm for the idea, editorial credibility, shared target audience and unmatched footprint. BBC World News host Adam Shaw, its leading financial correspondent, was on board. BBC then held a meeting of Nobel laureates, economists, philosophers and futurists to help decide episode topics around food, energy and protection.
Meanwhile, TwoFour, UK independent production company of the year, was selected to help produce brand-specific commercials about real DuPont collaborations. We mitigated budgetary challenges with nimble production models and packed calendars. During one month in early 2011, four half-hour episodes of TV and three commercial films were produced, a website was launched, and an international summit was convened.
Adam Shaw visited 18 countries, profiled 44 companies, and interviewed 150 people to create a first season of future-facing episodes. Simultaneously, small crews of BAFTA-winning documentarians traveled to places like Patagonia, Southern Africa and West Java to film the commercials. DuPont was part of every short film but played a supporting character, with the emphasis on real end-beneficiaries and a diverse cast of third-party collaborators like WWF and the São Paulo Police Department.
The Horizons series aired globally on BBC World News and Bloomberg TV in the US and UK through syndication, with both networks reaching 450 million people in total.
The DuPont documentary-style commercials aired as the sole commercial during the Horizons series. They also aired on the company’s YouTube channel, which garnered over 2.6 million views. For the target audience, Horizons began airing on BBC World News in early May 2011 and quickly became the second-highest rated show on the network, engaging a quantified audience of 185 million. DuPont salespeople also leveraged the commercials to win more business in the field.
250 media mentions generated; 120 million earned impressions.
Unprompted requests for classroom copies of the show began to materialize on the website—Horizonsbusiness.com (over 100,000 views)—and encouraging posts like “thank you for the show, keep it up!” appeared in the webcast chat room andFacebook wall (20,000 likes).
A quantitative pre/post survey of business decision-makers in six countries revealed that awareness increased by 15%, reputation increased by 16%, consideration by 7%, recommendation by 10%, and recognition (seen/read/heard) by 8%. Overall, the campaign had a 4:1 multiplier of value vs. cost (based on media value alone, not including additional value of other marketing extensions).