Training dogs can be difficult. But even tougher is training their owners! This is the focus of the new season of the emmy-nominated National Geographic Channel show, “Dog Whisperer,” featuring animal behaviorist Cesar Milan.
As one of its premiere franchises, National Geographic needed to create a promo package that would highlight its “Dog Whisperer Week,” which aired from July 30th – August 4th with special emphasis on three all-new premiere episodes. To accomplish this task, they commissioned award-winning creative digital studio !mpossible Pictures, which had worked on the campaign for the last season of “Dog Whisperer” as well as launching this latest season.
“We chose !mpossible Pictures because they were familiar with the National Geographic Channel brand and the tonality of the show,” says Sean McLaughlin, National Geographic Writer/Producer. “We knew they were a perfect match for this project since they already understood our perspective on the show. ”
“The client wanted to maintain continuity from the initial promo campaign we had done for them last year, which was a sort of villain versus hero theme,” explains Joel Pilger, !mpossible Pictures President/Director. “But this time, we were given extra latitude to pursue more ambitious, more ‘outside the box,’ ideas for what has become an extremely popular show.”
!mpossible’s designers presented a variety of style frames to National Geographic featuring human and canine characters from “The Dog Whisperer” as the graphic heroes. The goal was to emphasize the unique, actual dogs and owners appearing in the new episodes.
National Geographic Channel provided scripts to !mpossible early in their process, which proved to be very helpful in the development stages. “We were able to take our initial style frames, refine them, and then combine them with their scripts to create a very comprehensive and detailed storyboard. This roadmap was key in securing approvals as early as possible,” comments Pilger.
!mpossible created a package of nearly one-hundred elements for National Geographic including on-air and off-air promos, tune-ins/tags, topicals (to promote specific episodes), bumpers, lower thirds, and a graphics toolkit.
The technology utilized for the promo included Adobe After Effects for design, Discreet Flame for animation and effects, and Discreet Smoke for editorial, finishing and versioning. !mpossible credits the workflow and speed of Smoke in the hands of editor Brian Eloe for enabling the team to execute the number of permutations needed within the timeframe.
All this effort paid off since “Dog Whisperer Week” was a tremendous success for the National Geographic Channel. Over 9.5 million people tuned in, and primetime ratings in the network’s target P25-54 demo were 82% higher than the previous six-week average.
Client: National Geographic Channel
Writer/Producer: Sean McLaughlin
Design, Editorial & Postproduction Company: !mpossible Pictures Executive
Producer / Creative Director: Joel Pilger
Designer: Heather Arment
Designer/Flame VFX Artist: Hector Espinosa Smoke Editor: Brian Eloe
Assistant Editor: Eve Schutz