Exclusive interview with Luca Vecci of National Geographic Partners
We interviewed exclusively Luca Vecci Country Lead, Italy – Publishing, Consumer Products and Location Based Entertainment of National Geographic Partners.
LM: What do you feel to have achieved through this first year of work on the NG brand?
Results are extremely positive. National Geographic is a brand that allows a 360° approach to the market, through its authoritativeness and versatility, offering multiple business opportunities. In this last year in Italy we have grown in all sectors, both as numbers in absolute values, and as launch of new business lines: consumer products, publishing, travel experiences and marketing events.
We entered the promotional business by signing a three-year agreement with Jakala for the development of loyalty programs under the National Geographic and National Geographic Kids brand throughout Europe; we renewed our partnership on a world scale until 2020 with Venturelli for the development and commercialization of a National Geographic soft toy line; we launched the new National Geographic Traveler magazine in May 2018, which, thanks to the consolidation of the partnership with the GEDI Group (former publisher of the National Geographic magazine), has allowed us to bring a new magazine to the newsstand that tells about readers can undertake, sometimes with a bit more adventurous spirit, but always with the desire to discover and compare new realities. Places, experiences, cultures, with an eye to the atmosphere and the realities of the local inhabitants, favoring the great photography, which has always distinguished the style of National Geographic.
On the events side, in April, the second edition of the National Geographic Science Festival was held at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, which saw the participation of over 50,000 people, including 20,000 elementary and middle school children.
Great success also for the PhotoArk exhibition in Milan, in partnership with CityLife Shopping District, where visitors could appreciate the 60 photographs taken by the great National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore and discover his fascinating project in defense of biodiversity. Thanks to the collaboration with LEGO Italia, National Geographic and CityLife Shopping District have also offered the opportunity to live a unique experience through a journey of 13 animals life-size made in LEGO® bricks.
2018 has been also the year of the launch of thanks to the license agreement with the tour operator Kel 12. These are journeys, real cultural and quality routes, characterized by authenticity and sustainability with immersive itineraries intended as meeting and discovering lands, cultures, peoples. The flagship of the National Geographic travel offer are Land Expeditions, Private Expeditions, Family Expeditions, Active Expeditions and Photography Expeditions.
LM: Will there be any novelties signed by NG for this Christmas?
Absolutely yes, thanks to the debut of National Geographic in children’s fiction. At Christmas time it will be possible to find in bookstores the first volume of EXPLORER ACADEMY, the new editorial project published in Italy by WHITE STAR publishing house. Explorer Academy is an interactive and cross media saga, made of 7 titles and aimed at boys between 8 and 12 years. Within the text, the young reader will have to trace the secret symbols, the codes and the enigmas disseminated through the book pages.
Also on the travel front, National Geographic Christmas will be very active. The first edition of the contest Vinci e Parti con National Geographic (Win and Travel with National Geographic) is currently underway. It’s a new contest signed by National Geographic, realized in collaboration with CityLife Shopping District. Numerous prizes to be won, starting from the final one, which is a fabulous trip to Namibia for 2 people. Many weekly prizes, including sailing days in Liguria and dream weekends in Tuscany. Participants will also be able to find out immediately if they are among the winners of one of the 400 instant wins at stake: annual subscriptions to National Geographic Traveler magazine and National Geographic magazine, books, guides, plush, suitcases and bags all branded National Geographic and offered by GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, White Star, Compagnia del Viaggio, Manfrotto, Venturelli.
LM: What projects do you have in store for the new year?
2019 will be the year of Space, a theme that will be tackled in the round. Television productions, books, consumer products, new style guides National Geographic Kids and National Geographic exhibitions will have as common denominator the theme of space, in all its forms. National Geographic will also keep a strong focus on the world of exploration, nature, animals and sustainability.
In spring 2019 we will launch in Italy with Topps a collection of animal-themed figurines, the same thing for Back to School 2019 when children can find on the shelf the whole school line signed by National Geographic Kids. Many activities will also be linked to the theme Planet or Plastic, the National Geographic program dedicated to the reduction, up to its elimination, of the use of disposable plastic. Next year will also see the launch of the second (in spring) and the third volume (at Christmas) of the Explorer Academy fiction series for kids.
The 3rd edition of the National Geographic Festival of Sciences, also in Rome and in collaboration with Musica per Roma scheduled from 7 to 14 April 2019, is already in full planning phase.
National Geographic is also photography. After the extraordinary success of the series Master of Photography National Geographic published in 2018 by Gruppo Editoriale Gedi, in 2019 readers of the magazine National Geographic and Repubblica will find the new series “Masters of Photography – National Geographic” on sale. Great contemporary artists will be told by the Director of the Republic Mario Calabresi and each release will propose the most memorable images of a great protagonist of contemporary photography, introducing them with stories, experiences and anecdotes. In addition, a rich technical section analyzes, interprets and studies the main shots to explore a masterpiece from all points of view.