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National Geographic rewards consumers via location-based mobile challenges

September 30, 2010

national-geographicNational Geographic is offering rewards via mobile challenges to encourage visitors to several of its branded properties.

The company partnered with SCVNGR to use the location-based social game company’s technology. The first mobile challenge will take place at the National Geographic Museum’s exhibition “Geckos: Tails to Toepads” from Sept. 24 through Jan. 5.

“Since its founding in 1888, National Geographic has used the latest technologies and engagement trends to deliver on our our mission to inspire people to care about the planet,” said Aaron Kohn, vice president of mobile at National Geographic. “With SCVNGR and other cutting-edge partners, National Geographic is able to deliver our message in a fun, engaging and rewarding way.

“We are working closely with SCVNGR to craft messages at the locations of the treks/challenges,” he said. “For example, at National Geographic’s Headquarters, there are floor decals encouraging people to download the SCVNGR app and play the National Geographic trek. 

“For World Animal Day events, instructions for SCVNGR are near all of our other printed materials.”  

The National Geographic Society is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. The organization’s interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical conservation, and the study of world culture and history.

SCVNGR is played via a free iPhone and Android application.

Mobile challenges
National Geographic is incorporating the challenges across several of its properties, including the National Geographic channel, maps, museum and kids entertainment groups.

In addition to the museum challenge, visitors can use SCVNGR at other events, such as National Geographic Kids Entertainment’s World Animal Day on Oct. 16.

“When you get down to the core of it, mobile is all about location/geography,” Mr. Kohn said. “Geography is a central theme in everything we do. 

“In a space where location is truly at the heart of what we do and care about, mobile is an obvious platform to engage and inspire our audience to be active in their world,” he said.

Using their smartphones, families can participate in a photo safari trek that will send players to specific locations to take photographs, solve trivia challenges, earn points and unlock rewards.

National Geographic is also working with SCVNGR to create “NatGeo” badges that players will earn after completing a certain amount of challenges, which consist of audio, video and text content.

“Mobile is a huge growth area for us, and we have some exciting launches planned for the coming months,” Mr. Kohn said.

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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