2011 CableFAXIES Awards: Media Relations Campaign

Winner: National Geographic Channel — Great Migrations Communications Campaign

For National Geographic’s largest programming undertaking, its media relations team staged a multi-layered press campaign that included special screenings, a press trip to Kenya, mailing of nearly screeners and full-color books to 600 journalists and a special trade with ABC and Fox (the outlets received exclusive rights to footage in exchange for a coverage commitment). After introducing the series at TCA, special screenings were held in NY, LA and DC, and included interview opportunities and themed after-parties. Select world press were sent on a trip to Kenya that included visits to sites seen in Great Migrations, which was filmed on all 7 continents and took nearly three years in the field to make. In addition to the US debut, the series premiered in 330mln homes in 166 countries and 34 languages. 

Honorable Mentions:
E! Entertainment Television - 
Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Season 5
To promote the new season, the entire Kardashian clan was deployed. Family members walked the red carpet, were interviewed at press junkets and appeared on late-night talk shows. The premiere (3.52HH rating) was E!’s 2nd-most watched telecast ever.

ESPN Films - 30 for 30
ESPN’s task was to get the film press to become aware of its 30th anniversary programming stunt, which had 30 well-known filmmakers creating hour-long sports-related docs. Extensive press releases, online activities and numerous screenings did the trick. The fact that most of the films were excellent gave the project momentum, too.

Showtime Networks - Episodes
Matt LeBlanc’s return to TV was the main focus of Showtime’s pitch, with the former Friends actor doing countless interviews and junkets. Critics were sent the full season of the series, whose premiere grabbed nearly 1mln viewers and retained 91% of “Californication’s” (its lead-in) audience. 

History - America: The Story of US
To tout its landmark series, History set out a wide net for press, pitching the concept that this was the first time in 40 years that anybody had attempted to do a comprehensive history of America. 

See more of the 2011 CableFAXIES Winners