Dupont: Horizons

- in CASE STUDIES, The Drum
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Client: Dupont
Agency: OgilvyEntertainment


Founded in 1802, DuPont is a Fortune 100 global company that puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better life for people everywhere. Operating in over 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel. ”

In 2011, Earth’s population surpassed seven billion, rendering the challenges facing our world more urgent than ever. DuPont believes that collaboration is the way to tackle humanity’s challenges around food, energy and protection. However, business and industry leaders understood little of DuPont’s breadth of research and development to deliver solutions to these challenges.


To position DuPont as a vital global partner and cutting-edge scientific thought leader, OgilvyEntertainment created The Horizons Project: an innovative branded content platform that fosters a compelling conversation about the future of the world, and centres DuPont at its core.

The Horizons Project is built on four main pillars that reach audiences in a truly integrated campaign:

1. Broadcast partnership

Out of The Horizons Project was born Horizons, a broadcast series developed independently by BBC World News that investigates companies shaping the way humankind will live and work over the next decade.

Horizons is hosted by Adam Shaw, BBC World News business correspondent, who through meeting a future-facing panel of analysts, academics and business leaders, explores emerging, compelling issues, such as: Who will feed the world? Who will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels? Who will keep people safe from harm?

2. Stories of inclusive innovation

OgilvyEntertainment created a series of short documentary-style commercials designed to complement the Horizons TV show and highlight the multi-tiered relationships that have resulted in solutions to address global challenges. Each two-minute video uncovers the inventive thinking, materials and science behind these solutions.

The videos are broadcast as the sole commercial breaks alongside each episode of Horizons. They also air as online videos on DuPont’s YouTube channel. In addition, DuPont presents the films through top industry PR channels, thought leadership events, trade shows and internal channels to inspire clients, customers and employees about the impact DuPont’s work is having on real people.

3. Global leadership events

As part of The Horizons Project, four live events that focused on the DuPont brand messages about food, energy and protection were held in Delhi, Istanbul, Jakarta and Sao Paulo. The live events included debates and business summits moderated by highly respected and recognisable DuPont representatives. They developed conversations in a regional tone, candidly delving into global issues from a local viewpoint.

4. Digital hub

The Horizons microsite serves as a dynamic hub to pool and showcase the content from the series. Microsite visitors can engage directly with video, blog and social media content, browsing archive footage, interacting with topical commentary, and visiting the Facebook and Twitter pages.


Horizons began airing on BBC World News in April 2011 and quickly became the second highest rating show on the network. The series completed its second season in December 2012, engaging a quantified audience of 245 million throughout the first two seasons.

The short documentary-style commercials reach the same TV audience, and they achieved over 4 million views on YouTube by March 2013.

Four live events have so far been produced across four countries, collaborating with more than 800 industry leaders to share local views about global issues. The live events also served as campaign touchpoints, translating the global concerns and perspectives from the broadcast series into locally accessible and relevant conversations.
The microsite has achieved more than 220,000 visits.


The Horizons Project has enabled DuPont to be positioned at the heart of global discussions, collaborating with leaders of business and industry about tackling some of the world’s most pressing human challenges in the areas of food, energy and protection. DuPont employees are also now more engaged and knowledgeable about DuPont’s role in researching and developing relevant solutions to these challenges.

This case study was originally published in Volume I of the Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM) ebook (2013), co-edited by Justin Kirby and Greta MacFarlane.


About the author

Justin Kirby is a consultant, educator and thought leader with a 20+ year career in industry as a digital strategist, producer and entrepreneur. He chairs and speaks at conferences around the globe, judge industry awards, and advise brands and agencies.