The Trebek Initiative recruits Canadian explorers

Who: The Trebek Initiative (a joint effort between The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the National Geographic Society), with No Fixed Address.

What: An integrated campaign announcing the launch of the new grant program, created in honour of late Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. Trebek was well-known for his support of geographic literacy, even serving as honorary president of The Royal Canadian Geographic Society from 2016 until his death last year.

When & Where: The campaign launched this week, anchored by a 60-second TV spot airing in English and French with donated media from broadcasters including APTN, Bell Media, Blue Ant Media, CBC and Corus. There are also digital placements and a 45-second online video and PR support.

Why: Launched on July 22 (Trebek’s birthday), The Trebek Initiative is awarding $400,000 in grants each year to emerging Canadian explorers, scientists, educators and photographers in an attempt to ignite what is described as “the passion to preserve.”

How: No Fixed Address is responsible for all aspects of The Trebek Initiative, from strategy, naming, visual identity and website development, through to the launch campaign.

The English version of the 60-second anchor ad features British actor Stephen Fry struggling to provide a voiceover describing things like birds, rock formations and a strange underwater creature, before candidly admitting “You know what, I have no idea. I’m just the voice.”

Fry then goes on to explain that before he can tell viewers anything more about what they’re seeing, he needs explorers, geographers, scientists, etc. to provide him with the necessary information. The closing super directs would-be grant recipients to visit to find out more and apply for a grant.

Fry is actually a well-established talent within the world of nature narration, having done voice work for BBC nature series including Hidden Kingdoms and Last Chance to See, as well as providing narration for more fantastical projects including a Pokemon Go nature documentary and Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History, dedicated to the mythical world created by author J.K. Rowling.

And we quote:“The future of Canadian natural wonders relies on the actions we take today. Our mission with The Trebek Initiative is to inspire Canadians to make lasting, positive changes for the health of our planet.” —John Geiger, chief executive officer, Royal Canadian Geographic Society

Chris Powell