In 2007, Euronav, a large Belgian company that ships crude oil and petroleum products around the world, embarked on an expedition of environmental, educational and historic proportions. As the sole sponsor of an Antarctic journey led by renowned polar traveller, Dixie Dansercoer, they were supporting an exciting voyage that would commemorate the 110th anniversary of the historic Belgica expedition first made by Adrien de Gerlache. Called In the Wake of the Belgica, this team of passionate explorers would repeat Gerlache’s historic journey, in addition to covering previously unexplored territory. From the collection of ecological and meteorological data, they would be able to compare today’s Antarctic with 110 years ago.
As pioneers in their field, Euronav take a strong stand on safety and the environment. Whether it’s managing a fleet of large modern tanks or implementing sustainable business practices, the company demonstrates a lasting commitment to ingenuity and caring for their workplace - the ocean. Hoping to strengthen the perception of their environmental efforts and elevate the awareness of the expedition, they turned to Ogilvy PR. The team worked together to craft a strategy that would send a positive, ecological message about the protecting Antarctica and fighting climate change.
To celebrate the crew’s departure and return, Ogilvy PR organized two largely attended press events. While away, the press and interest public could follow the expedition day-by-day online at the web site www.inthewakeofthebelgica.com. A route tracker, blogs, and photos, provided up-to-date information. Special television partnerships with national Belgian television were also developed, ensuring prominent placement of Euronav branding.
The media coverage was extensive, including more than a 100 press mentions online and in newspapers worldwide. The expedition gained televised exposure in Belgium, China, the United States, Bulgaria, Spain, Vietnam, Mexico and Germany. The company’s name was mentioned in nearly all press coverage, without any negative comments about an oil-shipping company sponsoring this expedition. Internally, the expedition elevated the excitement and interest of its employees and staff to the point that the company appointed a full-time CSR-manager to develop future engagements.