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The National Park Service’s 2016 centennial is a huge marketing opportunity for U.S. tourism, and a new 3D documentary film funded by Brand USA is continuing a multi-year global marketing campaign conducted through both film and TV documentaries.
The new National Park Adventure film represents a $12.5 million investment from Brand USA, which began work on the film more than two years ago. The organization expects $45 million worth of marketing impressions to be generated by its worldwide rollout to hundreds of global theaters.
“Brand USA’s charge is to increase international tourism to the U.S., so the international audience is a huge focus for us,” said Tom Garzilli, senior vice president of global sponsorships for Brand USA. “National Parks Adventure will be shown in giant-screen cinemas in several different countries including China, England, Germany, Australia, India, Japan, France and many more.”
According to Garzilli, the film is part of a multi-year campaign that started with The United States of Great Outdoors Content Hub in late 2014 and continued with an eight-episode America The Beautiful documentary TV series which aired beginning in 2015.
The new 45-minute feature is a combination of nature documentary, history lesson, family road story and tourism sales pitch. Movie legend Robert Redford even provides playful narration, which will be tweaked for each market the film enters over the next 18 months.
“The film has been created for, and will appeal to a global audience, and will be translated in the language of each country, with narration by a local celebrity,” said Garzill. “Within 18 months, we estimate that over four million international consumers from more than a dozen key countries including China, Japan, India, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Denmark, and The Netherlands will enjoy National Parks Adventure.”
Travel giant Expedia gets pre- and post-roll advertising, due to a multi-million dollar partnership with Brand USA.
The film follows climber Conrad Anker alongside his step-son (and National Geographic photographer) Max Lowe and artist Rachel Pohl as they explore various remote national parks. They spend time adventuring and goofing around, while an unseen documentary team shadowing them shoots striking imagery on gigantic IMAX 70mm film cameras.
National Park Adventures also features several interludes about the importance of conservation and the history of the National Parks system. A stoic Theodore Roosevelt impersonator gets some screen time.
A bit of familial pathos is even thrown into the documentary, as Anker reflects on the death Lowe’s father when they climbed Mount Everest together years ago. The message: Bond with your kids by visiting America’s national park system.