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ROCKLEIGH, NJ -- Two international brand leaders, National Geographic and Volvo Car Corporation, have signed a one-year deal valued at $9.7 million to provide global, multiplatform coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race, Round The World 2001-2002.

The cross-media package comprises scientific-, adventure- and environment-themed content, which includes original television programming for the National Geographic Channel in at least 129 countries, Internet-based coverage and four special advertising sections in National Geographic magazine.

``We are delighted to be partnering with Volvo Car Corporation, as its concern for safety and the environment mirrors the National Geographic Society's primary mission in the 21st century of conservation and stewardship of the planet,'' said Steve Giannetti, vice president and publisher of National Geographic magazine. ``National Geographic is uniquely positioned to offer advertisers cross-platform opportunities worldwide under one brand -- the renowned yellow border.''

Dieter Laxy, senior vice president, Volvo Car Corporation, said, ``The Volvo Cars and National Geographic brands are synonymous with quality worldwide, so we have chosen National Geographic to help us tell the high-tech, high-adventure story of eight crews pitting themselves against the elements in one of sailing's ultimate challenges.''

The 32,700-nautical-mile Volvo Ocean Race, formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, will leave Southampton, England, September 23, 2001, and will finish in Kiel, Germany, around June 9, 2002.

``The deal with Volvo is a perfect fit with the National Geographic's commitment to conservation and its core genres of adventure, science and technology,'' said Giannetti.

``Helen Feinbloom, National Geographic Channels International senior vice president for advertising sales, Richard Goldfarb, National Geographic Channel U.S. senior vice president for media sales, and Renee Clepper, director of cross-platform sales, have worked together to devise a global and local cross-media strategy with Volvo that will reach the widest audience possible.''

National Geographic Channel's coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race will include international television broadcasts, over the nine months of the race, to more than 110 million households in at least 129 countries. Original programming kicks off with ``Science of Sailing,'' airing globally in September 2001. Other Channel programs will highlight the race and draw attention to the science of the oceans, and special features will focus on survival at sea and the culture and attractions of some of the port cities the yachts will visit. Ports en route include Cape Town, Sydney, Auckland, Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Baltimore, La Rochelle, France, and Goteborg, Sweden.

Volvo's extensive media schedule will go beyond the TV specials to include other National Geographic Channel programming, including the flagship show, ``National Geographic Today,'' a live, daily news program that airs across the United States at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT.

National Geographic magazine coverage in the United States and international editions will include special advertising sections giving an overview of the race, mini-maps of places along the route and information on ocean plants and animal life. National Geographic magazine is read by nearly 50 million people in every country of the world.

Nationalgeographic.com, which attracts more than 4 million visitors a month, will have a dedicated Volvo Ocean Race, Round The World 2001-2002 Web site. At http://www.nationalgeographic.com/volvooceanrace, visitors will experience the day-to-day excitement of the race through news stories; dispatches from the sea; an interactive walk through of one of the boats taking part; information on the race route and ports; and information on major currents, trade winds and other geographic factors that affect the race. There will also be links to National Geographic Channel's race specials and Volvo Cars' web sites, including http://www.VolvoOceanAdventure.org, a free environmental education program for young people.

Volvo Car Corporation is well known for its commitment to vehicle and passenger safety and the environment. In 1927, the founders of Volvo included safety in the company's mission statement, and in 1959 Volvo was the first motor manufacturer to implement three-point safety belts in its vehicles. Since 1970's, when Volvo broadened its mission to encompass care of the environment, it has been at the forefront of minimizing vehicle emissions.

SOURCE: National Geographic and Volvo Car Corporation
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