Magazine to target adventurous readers Launch: National Geographic Adventure magazine will be launched in the spring with the help of The Campbell Group, a Baltimore ad agency.

November 11, 1998|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

For the first time in more than a decade, the National Geographic Society will launch a new magazine.

And a Baltimore advertising and public relations agency will help make that magazine, National Geographic Adventure, happen. It launches in April 1999, but the work starts now with a year-long, $1 million-plus campaign.

The Campbell Group, based in Baltimore, with offices in New York and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has done projects for National Geographic for a dozen years. But this one strikes especially close to home for Andy Dumaine, vice president and creative director of Campbell, and his business partner and wife, Cristina Creager.

"It gave us the chance to tap into a personal philosophy," Dumaine said. "It's a passion of ours."

The two have been chased by a stampede of angry elephants in Zambia, driven through Lapland to reach the place where land meets Arctic Ocean and hiked the rain forest near Angel Falls on the Amazon, where they held colorful frogs they later determined were the poison dart variety.

"We looked internally about how we feel on these trips," said Creager, also a vice president and creative director. "You start to measure your life by the experiences that you had that year. I can tell you the year I went to Israel, but I can't tell you what I did at work that year."

The advertising executives are not alone in their passion for adventure travel. It's a growing national trend, and it represents big money -- about $220 billion in the United States in 1997, according to the Adventure Travel Society based outside Denver.

A recent survey by the Travel Industry Association of America reported that half of Americans (98 million adults) have taken an action vacation in the past five years.

According to the report, 92 million adults took "soft" adventure vacations like skiing, sailing and horseback riding trips, while 31 million took "hard" adventure vacations such as mountain climbing, sky diving and cave exploring. Twenty-five million Americans took both.

"American travelers want their vacations to be more thrilling," said William S. Norman, president and CEO of TIA. "They are looking for new ways to challenge themselves, to push their physical energies to the edge and face nature at its boldest moments."

The World Tourism Organization reports that of 529 million travelers in 1996, a third were eco- or adventure tourists. And adventure travel is predicted to become even more mainstream. Some industry experts say that nature-based tourism could grow by 25 percent to 30 percent a year.

For those reasons, the National Geographic Society is starting its first magazine since National Geographic Traveler, 14 years ago.

"I think they have really tapped into something here," Dumaine said. "In the '80s, people measured their success by their material possessions. In the '90s, it's shifted to a collection of experiences. They go there to bring back an experience that changes them and enriches their life. It's not about collecting trophies."

With ads that hit the trade publications -- Advertising Age, Ad Week and Media Week -- this week, The Campbell Group is trying to get out the word to those who will buy advertising space in the magazine's first issues.

Typically, such trade publication ads are packed with circulation numbers and other statistics. These ads, however, will target media buyers and planners and will feature the same tone that consumers eventually will see.

The ads are monochromatic, almost ethereal in tone, focusing on bTC man pitted against nature. One, colored in lighting of ice blue, pictures a lone windsurfer sailing past what looks like a melting glacier with the words: "A safe, predictable life has its place. Just not here." Another pictures three helmet-clad mountain bikers at the crest of a hill in Cortina, Italy, with a backdrop of the jagged Dolomites: "Routine is toxic. Minimize your exposure." A third pictures a kayaker, gliding out of a cave toward a shaft of light, all cast in an eerie green glow. The words say: "Thank God it's whatever day it is."

Consumer ads won't appear until the magazines hit shelves, but The Campbell Group starts its planning in January.

Rather than covering how to get to a travel destination or the gear required, this magazine will contain first-person stories that deal with the effect of adventure on people's lives. Stories would include features on African safaris, and kayak trips and ways to sneak into Tibet, where only government-sanctioned tours are allowed.

The magazine's editor is John Rasmus, the original editor of Outside and founding editor of Men's Journal.

Its target audience is readers 25 to 45, with about 60 percent of its readers expected to be men. Initial circulation is expected to be about 200,000 for the magazine, which will appear quarterly at first. By 2003, the magazine is expected to come out monthly. Cover price will be $3.95.

"Here you have a magazine that explores the motivations of people who seek out adventure in their lives," Dumaine said. "This is not about a vacation. This is an entire lifestyle."

Pub Date: 11/11/98

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