Andy Baker writes about the process of creating an original pop song to promote the fourth season of “Doomsday Preppers” for NatGeo.

stepuptheprepvert

Returning for its 4th season on the National Geographic Channel, “Doomsday Preppers” is one of the more unique offerings in Non-Fiction television. It’s a show that is all about people who are preparing for the end of the world. They each have a different version of how The End will come – a nuclear war, or cyber attacks, the collapse of the economy, F-5 tornadoes, and so forth.  This is the third season that we were putting a major marketing push behind it, with paid off-channel media to support it.

TAKEAWAY #1: DON’T THROW OUT THE BLUEPRINT – JUST STEP IT UP.

We set out from the beginning to build off of what we’d done in previous seasons creatively – but find new ways to freshen it up a bit. Some of what had been done before had worked, so we set out to find new ways to update the blueprint a bit.  The most exciting and noteworthy ‘Step Up’ was the plan for the :45 music video. We’d always licensed a track before, but after last year it was clear that there are a lot of songs that would SEEM to fit the show (Destiny’s Child “Survivor” had been one consideration last season) they don’t always work with the content perfectly.  And after season 1?s “End of the World As We Know it” video, it seemed like the very best possible song had been used, so rather than do an extensive music search that may not result in something fresh or “stepped up” – the idea came up to create our own theme song.  Cue Jingle Punks, a music agency that we’d wanted to work with before that is known for writing original tracks and recording with emerging artists to create real, legit songs, not just promo music.  Their work with Lynyrd Skynyrd for a “Pawn Stars” campaign was a good example of elevating the music beyond just a catchy jingle into a robust event idea.  Just the idea of writing our own pop song that could speak to the new season’s stories felt like a “stepped up” creative idea that really would evolve the campaign.

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