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Special Project

Special Project
From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

National Geographic + Visit Seattle – Sights & Soundtracks of Seattle: OPEN STUDIO

Finalist in Travel & Tourism


The city of Seattle is textured; it's a feast for the senses; it's progressive and immersive. With everything from unrivaled natural beauty to world-class attractions, major sports teams, a thriving arts and culture scene, and beyond, there's always something to do in Seattle. To showcase Seattle's distinct offerings, National Geographic and Visit Seattle teamed up to create a bold new series "Sights & Soundtracks of Seattle: OPEN STUDIO" designed to encourage people to experience the inspiration of Seattle's great outdoors through the lens—and soulful music—of some of its most creative people.

Strategy and Execution

National Geographic and Visit Seattle designed a social and digital-first platform that inspired, engaged, and shined a light on Seattle's quintessential landmarks and unique culture. Here's how they did it:


National Geographic kicked off the partnership by enlisting the expertise of local Seattle artists who know – and find inspiration from – Seattle's diverse culture and spaces. Aaron Huey, a renowned world-class National Geographic photographer and long-time Seattle resident with a passion for exploration, was paired with four SubPop recording artists based in Seattle. Together, they would embark on a four-day photo and video shoot that would immerse them in the sights and sounds of Seattle -- in turn, capturing the essence and magic of four locations across the city.


National Geographic created inspirational content to bring each location's story to life, inclusive of Instagram stories, mini-documentaries and a dynamic online experience. These pieces of custom content were then shared across National Geographic's travel social media accounts and aggregated on National Geographic in a newly redesigned Seattle Travel Guide.

A highly immersive and audio/visual online passport was created and housed on, where followers were given the opportunity to learn more about Seattle and explore the featured urban spaces and local Seattle treasures through photos, videos and editorial content. Each of four published Instagram stories focused on a different location in or around Seattle, showcasing the destination with video and photography, travel tips and inspirational quotes. To tie everything together, a musical snippet composed by one of the four Sub Pop Records artists played throughout the duration of the story, allowing followers on social media to experience the "Sights and Sounds" of Seattle – all without ever leaving Instagram.

To further explore how and why Seattle inspires and unleashes creativity and imagination, National Geographic produced a series of "Behind The Inspiration" videos, featuring Aaron Huey and musicians in a discussion on the location, and Seattle's unique ability to inspire them creatively.

Content was distributed via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts across National Geographic's travel accounts. High-impact video ads and co-branded digital media on drove deeper into the custom passport experience.


Leaning into Seattle's inspirational environment and music scene, the "Sights & Soundtracks of Seattle" campaign successfully connected Visit Seattle with inspirational talent and showcased the city's urban spaces, quintessential landmarks and local favorites -- ultimately driving increased interest for Seattle as a travel destination.

In total, the campaign garnered nearly 20M impressions across National Geographic's social and digital distribution channels, with more than 12.9M+ social impressions, 6.7M+ digital impressions, and 32K+ social video views. The introduction of a unique content approach for a familiar location resonated with audiences, and Visit Seattle content was recognized as a top performer on the @NatGeotravel social accounts, achieving high engagement above benchmarks for social and digital efforts. The digital passport garnered more than 25K+ page views, and consumers spent an average of 3:45 on the website, delivering above benchmarks and signaling an engaged audience.

For Visit Seattle, this was an important effort that brought both awareness and engagement to this world-class metropolis.


Video for National Geographic + Visit Seattle – Sights & Soundtracks of Seattle: OPEN STUDIO

Entrant Company / Organization Name

National Geographic Partners + Visit Seattle + PB&