National Geographic Partners took home nine awards at the 2018 Cannes Lions 2018 International Festival of Creativity, including a Gold Cannes Lion for “Breaking2,” a branded content documentary created in partnership with Nike that chronicles the journey of three elite runners in their attempt to run a marathon in under two hours. The award is the first-ever Gold Cannes Lion that the organization has received, winning in the “Sports: Film, Series & Audio” category of the Entertainment Lions. National Geographic Partners also received a Bronze Cannes Lion for “Breaking2” in the “TV & VOD Non-Fiction” category.
“From our first meeting with Nike, both teams knew we had the potential to create something remarkable — but the end result was even better than we could’ve imagined,” said Brendan Ripp, Executive Vice President of Partnerships for National Geographic Partners. “We’re thrilled to have our work recognized by such an internationally-revered organization, and to have shared this inspiring story about pushing limits and going further on a global stage.”
Featuring breathtaking cinematography, the film chronicles the journey of three world-class runners and their teams as they try to defy the unthinkable — breaking the two hour marathon barrier. Breaking2 is about the intersection of technology and the human spirit. From testing in wind tunnels and running labs in the United States, to balancing training with their day-to-day lives in eastern Africa, to the final heart-pounding race in Italy, the film follows these pioneers on their global trek to break the two-hour barrier. National Geographic Studios, in association with Dirty Robber, an Academy Award-nominated production and entertainment company, produced the film that broadcast globally last September.
“In terms of both partnership and storytelling, ‘Breaking2’ has reset the bar,” said Claudia Malley, Executive Vice President of Partner Solutions for National Geographic Partners. “It’s a story that speaks to Nike’s core philosophy and values — inspiring everyday people to push their limits. And it’s a film that speaks to National Geographic’s core DNA — resolving to go further, even when faced with the unknown or the impossible. The documentary broke through with consumers globally and we are thrilled to be recognized with this prestigious award”
Broadcast in 67 countries and in 34 languages, audiences around the world found themselves rooting for each runner as their unique stories and personalities came to life. The documentary had a global reach of 231 million across all platforms, and garnered more than 4 million mixed-media documentary views.
“By capitalizing on our collective strengths, we were able to create something so much more impactful than a sports documentary, telling a story that entertained audiences across the world — emotionally, intellectually and physiologically,” said Ripp. “If this award stands as a testament to anything, it’s that there’s no limit to what National Geographic can do when we partner with brands who share our vision and values.“
These wins for Breaking2 were bolstered by an additional Silver Cannes Lion, as well as four Bronze Cannes Lions, for National Geographic Partners’ “Astronaut Reality Helmet,” a wearable immersive experience housed within a replica space helmet inspired by their series, “One Strange Rock.”
The organization’s Latin America division was also awarded a Silver Cannes Lion for their “Green Definition” initiative, which made National Geographic Latin America the first television channel capable of saving energy by lowering the amount of pixels used to broadcast content. And “Camelpower,” a Nissan campaign produced by National Geographic Partners Abu Dhabi, which featured the first-ever unit to measure automotive performance in the desert, received a Bronze Cannes Lion as well.
Breaking2 was produced by National Geographic Studios in partnership with Nike and in association with Dirty Robber. Credits include: Brian Lovett, Executive Producer (National Geographic Studios); Martin Desmond Roe, Director (Dirty Robber); Betsy Forhan, Executive Producer (National Geographic Channel); Mark McCambridge, Executive Producer (Nike); Chris Uettwiller, Executive Producer (Dirty Robber); Jason Puris, Executive Producer (Dirty Robber); Kevin T. Mohs, Vice President of Production (National Geographic Channel); and Kathlyn Horan, Producer (Dirty Robber).