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NBC Capitalizes on Olympic Platform

NBC will use its considerable Olympic Games platform to remind viewers that there will be something to watch after the Games are over.

The network will sound the next note in its “Chime In” campaign during Friday’s opening ceremonies with a 30-second spot at the top of the 8 p.m. hour featuring a bevy of NBC stars including Masi Oka, Milo Ventimiglia, Adrian Pasdar, Greg Grunberg from Heroes, Zach Levi from Chuck and John Krasinski from The Office.

The spot, like all NBC promos, will be branded with the peacock logo, the G-E-C notes and the Chime In tag line.

The idea, said John Miller, chief marketing officer of NBC Universal Television Group, is to remind viewers, “When you hear these notes, you know there will be quality entertainment coming your way. And part of that is taking all of our talent and making them front and center.”

The network began taping spots with NBC stars this week.

Additionally, in-house spots for shows will begin featuring customized chimes -- for example, cash-register chimes for Deal or No Deal promos, engine-revving chimes for Knight Rider, gun-cocking chimes for new Christian Slater drama My Own Worst Enemy and whistle chimes for Lipstick Jungle.

“We’re effectively marketing and promoting each of our original [shows], but we’re doing it in a way that creates some consistency across the entire [network],” said Adam Stotsky, president of NBC Entertainment marketing. “You can create that consistency with those notes, but you can do it within the individual show brand.”

The 100-day writers’ strike that will have kept new episodes of many returning shows off the air for nine months or more -- including NBC hit Heroes -- inverted the network’s on-air promo allocation, with 60%-65% of inventory going toward returning shows.

The network also found nontraditional ways to reconnect with fans. In the case of Heroes, it threw caution (and plot twists) to the wind and screened the first hour of the Heroes premiere for 6,500 rabid fans at Comic-Con in San Diego last month.

The screening resulted in plenty of blog traffic and, NBC executives hope, helped to renew interest from many fans who were disappointed in the second season creatively.

“We knew that with a keystroke, they could kill it full-stop,” Stotsky said.

And while some bloggers may have given away a little too much, the screening also generated enough positive reaction from critics and fans -- hundreds of whom camped out overnight at the San Diego convention center -- for NBC to craft a promo around it that features plenty of effusive quotes from critics and, of course, cheering fans.