Shell Film Earth 2050: The Future of Energy by Mediacom Santa Monica

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Earth 2050: The Future of Energy

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Industry Raw Materials & Minerals
Media Film
Market United States
Agency Mediacom Santa Monica
Released November 2011


One Show 2012
One Show Entertainment Television / Specials or one-time screenings Merit

Credits & Description

Category: Best non-fiction program, series or film where a client has successfully created a reality, documentary or light entertainment show around a product(s) or brand(s)
Product/Service: OIL COMPANY
Communications Planning Director: Rachel Nowick (Mediacom)
Managing Director Of Content: Adam Pincus (Mediacom)
Digital Associate Media Director: Rachel Weinstein (Mediacom)
Senior Strategist: Tim Fogarty (m80)
Digital Media Supervisor: Maura Daly (Mediacom)
Media placement: "Earth 2050" TV Special - Discovery Channel, Planet Green, Science Channel - 22 December 2011
Media placement: Future Energy Online Hub - - 1 September 2011
Media placement: Tune-In Banners -, - 1 December 2011
Media placement: Advertorial - WIRED Magazine - 20 December 2011
Media placement: Advertorial - Vanity Fair - 8 December 2011
Media placement: Pre Roll -, - 1 December 2011
Media placement: Syndicated Video - Tube Mogul (Video Distribution) - 19 December 2011

Campaign Description
Branded entertainment continues to grow in the United States. Brands are interested in producing and/or funding original content because it allows them to control the creative process. They can influence the story and control the level of branding.
However, when we decided to create a television documentary special to improve the public perception of Shell Oil Company, we knew it would be a challenge.
American consumers are often sceptical of non-fiction branded entertainment programmes. They are especially wary when brands highlight their corporate responsibility. Viewers question if the brand is being genuine or honest, and the content runs the risk of being seen as just an infomercial.
Our solution? Partner with authoritative, independent voices to lend true credibility to our content, and integrate Shell messaging in an organic - and not aggressive - way.

The petroleum industry is one of the most loathed in the United States. People think oil companies are focused on profits and are not environmentally conscious.
Shell Oil company is seen in a more favourable light than its competitors, but it is not immune to negative perceptions. However, Shell is deeply committed to developing sustainable solutions to the global energy challenge.
Our goal was to improve Shell’s public perception. We wanted to show that Shell is a leader by raising awareness of their initiatives in securing our energy future.
We knew a 30-second TV spot or print ad alone wouldn’t be enough to truly improve brand perception. The campaign needed to be big and robust.
Moreover, the subject matter had to be interesting. To get people to actually pay attention, we couldn’t just talk about Shell. We needed to take on something bigger - with high stakes.
We created ‘Earth 2050: The Future of Energy’, a provocative TV special that looked at the energy challenges our world faces over the next 40 years and the innovative solutions and projects to guarantee a sustainable energy future. The programme was supported by a multi-platform media plan.
‘Earth 2050’ included a series of 3 individual films packaged and aired together on Discovery Channel. To gain credibility, we produced it in partnership with 2 of the most respected and authoritative voices on energy: WIRED Magazine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
WIRED’s executive editor, Thomas Goetz, hosted and produced the special, which added true editorial credentials. We also enlisted 3 world-class, award-winning documentarians to give Earth 2050 a unique and cinematic perspective.
We highlighted Shell without undermining the programme’s credibility by creating interstitial segments that aired within the programme. ‘Earth 2050’ transitioned seamlessly from programme content to information about Shell’s innovative energy initiatives.

Our documentary special, ‘Earth 2050: The Future of Energy’, premiered on Discovery Channel.

We developed a media plan to promote the TV special and encourage conversation:
• Video syndication and YouTube distribution
• Co-branded tune-in banners of Discovery Channel’s TV and digital properties
• Advertorials in WIRED Magazine and Vanity Fair
• Promotion on WIRED and Discovery’s websites and social properties
• Blogger outreach that seeded clips of the programme to readers
• Re-broadcasts on Science Channel and Planet Green

We also developed a ‘Future Energy’ hub on where people could get watch additional content and join the conversation.

To convince people that Shell was being genuine and honest, we wanted people to enjoy the programme first and acknowledge the brand behind it second.
Therefore, we aligned with key partners, tackled a universal subject, and interspersed Shell-branded segments throughout the programme.
Earth 2050 was a ratings hit. It outperformed regular programming on both Discovery Channel and the Science channel and viewership numbers were 3x more than client expectations. Meanwhile, the Future Energy online hub delivered nearly 12.5m page views and 712,531 video streams – 3x higher than the average for
More importantly, the campaign fulfilled Shell’s objectives of improving brand affinity and public perception:
• In a study of Shell’s core consumers, viewers were twice as likely to think that Shell is actively addressing future energy needs
• 80% of viewers felt more positively about Shell after watching Earth 2050
• Two-thirds of Earth 2050 viewers said they were now more interested in energy issues