Cannes Lions

Cisco's National Geographic 'Emerging Explorer'

OMD, London / CISCO / 2017

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Cisco's main audience are often perceived as being solely corporate "office types". However, we knew they were missing out on talking to millennial entrepreneurs in the new digitized world. A record 66 members of the 2016 Forbes Billionaires List are under the age of 40, 7x increase since 2010.

36 of these billionaires made their money themselves and more than 3 quarters are from the tech sector. CEO's are now younger and are increasingly more interested in how companies have a social responsibility to apply technology to the betterment of society, in fact 64% of CEOs say that ‘corporate social responsibility’ is core to their business (2016 PwC Global CEO survey).

Our idea was to help Cisco speak to this audience in a new, human way.


National Geographic helped us develop a campaign that focuses on how humans react emotionally to changing environments. Supported by the impact Cisco has had on making our cities smarter and better for citizens. We commissioned an emerging explorer, kitted him with a wearable emotive transmitter designed to measure his emotions in real-time, and mapped his journey on a digital visualisation platform.

Our explorer trekked across 69 cities and 15 national parks. His journey was mapped on an interactive micro-site, demonstrating the impact Internet of Things has on the well-being of citizens. This map tracked real-time data and allowed the user to track his journey daily on his 25-week trek.

To encourage repeat visitors, high frequency content was produced on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Longer form content was produced by Cisco and the explorer to detail his experiences and align his story with Cisco’s message to change perception.


The program has attracted over 18,000 business leaders with an impressive website return rate of 41%, 2,000 of which shared the content 5,000+ times.

Further, 65.9% of them wanting to hear more from Cisco.

We saw an uplift of 808% with understanding of Cisco’s involvement in the Internet of Things against its key competitors.

The story did not only catch the attention of our desired audience, BBC organically created multiple stories on BBC1 radio, BBC Facebook Live, and iPlayer. Proving our story was newsworthy.

TimeOut also picked up the story on their print and online formats.

Overall generating 50 million added value organic PR impressions worth approximately $300,000 USD.

Although the story was focused in the UK, Germany’s ARD and Russia’s NTV have both begun producing coverage, demonstrating Cisco’s involvement in the global conversation with no additional investment.

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