It’s lights, camera, action for Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine scientists and executives. They're starring in “Mission Possible,” a branded content film from Pfizer and National Geographic that tracks the COVID-19 vaccine's journey to market.
The movie-length product placement is a behind-the-scenes look at Comirnaty, the now-authorized coronavirus shot Pfizer developed and produced in concert with its partner BioNTech. Pfizer provided National Geographic's scientific storytellers “unprecedented access” to the vaccine's development, said Sally Susman, Pfizer executive vice president and chief of corporate affairs, said.
“This film is riveting and suspenseful,” Susman said in a media backgrounder from Disney Advertising Sales, the Disney group that oversees National Geographic’s CreativeWorks branded content studio, which created the film. “It is a testament to all of our employees and partners across the biopharmaceutical industry who have put in the long hours of tireless dedication and sacrifice, often working away from their families."
"This story is for them," she added, "and for everyone who has turned to science as the hope for humanity during the pandemic.”
The film premieres on March 11, the one-year anniversary of World Health Organization's official pandemic declaration, on the National Geographic channel.
CreativeWorks didn't reveal many details about the film, but did say key Pfizer players—from executives, including Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, Ph.D., to researchers and scientists who dedicated themselves to finding the vaccine—will be featured.
Mike Wiese, senior VP of branded content for National Geographic Partners and Disney CreativeWorks, said, “The fight to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 has been one of the biggest challenges of our time, and with the reach of National Geographic, we are able to share one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs with the world.”
Pfizer's Susman called the filming "a once-in-a-lifetime responsibility to document a pivotal moment in human history."
After its debut on March 11 at 10 p.m. ET, "Mission Possible" can be watched on demand where National Geographic content is available.
Another vaccine maker, Johnson & Johnson, created a similar media trek, albeit in weekly installments. Its online series "Road to a Vaccine" began on Facebook in live segments starting last April. The hourlong show ran for two seasons with episodes airing through November, featuring J&J executives and scientists, along with outside experts and public health officials weighing in on a variety of COVID-19 related issues.