Chrysler Rides With Meyers on NBCU 'Pets' Symphony

NBCUniversal is turbocharging a multiplatform ad campaign for Chrysler’s new Pacifica model with a tie-in to upcoming movie The Secret Life of Pets, digital content on Vox and BuzzFeed, and a live commercial in late night featuring Seth Meyers and his dog, Frisbee.

The campaign for the film is part of what NBCU calls Symphony, its ability to pull in all of the assets of parent company. While not quite the full symphony, the campaign for Chrysler will hit on a lot of cylinders.

Many marketers are looking to make their ad dollars work harder by asking networks to construct multiplatform ad campaigns and branded content to carry their message to consumers, and NBCU, among others, have been building teams to coordinate and combine the assets in their portfolios.

In this case, the Universal Pictures film Secret Life of Pets—opening July 8—is an internal priority and the 2017 Pacifica, a family-oriented mini-van like crossover vehicle, is a top priority for Chrysler.

The campaign is timed to start Monday, which is National Pet Day. It kicks off with Late Night host Seth Meyers and his dog Frisbee appearing in spots for the Pacifica. One spot shows Meyers talking to Frisbee, chiding the dog for “biting Al Roker,” telling the dog about Pets, and whetting his appetite for an exclusive trailer airing on Meyers’ show.

Meyers and Frisbee are expected to do a live promo for the car and introduce an exclusive trailer for the film on his show Monday night. Starting Tuesday three more spots featuring Meyers will roll out.

The ads will also appear on NBCU-owned networks Golf Channel, NBCSN, Sprout and USA Network. They will also be available on Fandango, along with a move trailer for The Secret Life of Pets.

Other NBCU personalities, including Cat Greenleaf of USA and members of the Today show cast will appear in segments that talk about what their pets do at home when they’re at work.

The campaign also includes digital content on Vox and BuzzFeed, two digital media companies in which NBCU has made investments. Last week, NBCU announced a venture called Concert that would jointly sell Vox along with NBCU advertising assets to marketers. NBCU’s Social Synch program will highlight the campaign in social media.

Alison Tarrant, executive VP of client partnerships at NBCUniversal, who is responsible for orchestrating multiplatform ad campaigns, says this is the first time NBCU has included a Universal Pictures film in an ad package and the first campaign to employ Vox and the Concert partnership.

“This program really demonstrates the next evolution of how we can create meaningful programs for our advertisers, even outside of our media properties,” Tarrant says.

While NBCU-owned properties reach 93% of the U.S., adding partners like Vox and BuzzFeed make programs more innovative and add reach, she said.

According to Tarrant, Chrysler and its media agency Universal McCann, came to NBCU with a really important car launch. “They came to us and told us about the consumer they were trying to reach, the tonality of the campaign and then we came back to them with idea” of tying in with The Secret Life of Pets, she says. “For Chrysler, Pacifica is a huge priority. For NBCU, Pets is a priority. So we integrated the two across the assets of NBCUniversal to really elevate both of these brands. So it’s a true partnership.”

Meyers wrote his spots, which gives them a sense of authenticity, Tarrant says.  “His viewers are familiar with Frisbee, and he was such a great centerpiece of the campaign. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with him. The spots were created by NBCU’s Content Innovation Agency, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.

“The opportunity to partner with NBCUniversal to create engaging content featuring talent from across its diverse television network portfolio presented a strong media platform with incredible reach to tell the story of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica,” said Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer, FCA – Global. “Leveraging the unprecedented level of functionality, versatility, and technology of the vehicle, including our UConnect theater, together with The Secret Life of Pets, a film for mom, dad and their children, is the perfect combination to introduce audiences to the all-new Chrysler Pacifica as the ultimate family vehicle.”

Tarrant said that campaigns like this are all part of the budget for a big partnership like the one NBCU has with Chrysler. She said marketers believe multifaceted campaigns have more impact.

“I think you’ve seen custom content delivers really deep engagement,” she said. Compared to a traditional ad campaign, “these partnerships allow advertisers to really expand their reach and become part of a conversation.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.