NBC Universal Taps CMOs For Advice, Signs Big General Mills Deal

NBC Universal is
souping up its integrated sales marketing effort with a new plan to tap the
expertise of chief marketing officers in order to create more sophisticated
advertising packages.

Former K-Mart
marketing executive Bill Stewart, has been named NBC Universal's first
so-called, CMO in residence. He joins in May and has been tapped to help
leverage NBC Universal's portfolio of assets to create customized, innovative,
insight-driven programs tailored to meet clients business objectives.

The idea of
partnering with marketing executives seems to be gaining some momentum. NBC
Universal's President of Women and Lifestyle Networks Lauren Zalaznick and
Maraym Banikarim, senior VP, integrated sales and marketing, both spearhead a
similar initiative called Women At NBCU, which comprises influential women
across a number of industries who meet regularly to provide insights into
consumer behavior and purchasing patterns.

Earlier this month,
Canoe Ventures, the cable joint venture aimed at pioneering advanced
advertising, named a board of top marketing executives to help the company
align with their interests. Among Canoe's new advisory board members are
General Electrics Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock, a former top level NBC
executive, and former Wachovia Chief Marketing Officer Jim Garrity.

Separately, NBC
Universal announced that General Mills has signed a cross platform deal to
become a sponsor of the company's first-ever Health Week, beginning June 21.

The packaged goods
giant will advertise its brands, which include Cheerios and Yoplait, across NBC
Universal platforms. Custom shorts will air on Oxygen and Bravo. General Mills
will also support select health series on NBC News and CNBC, according to a
company release. Healthy Week is part of the media
conglomerates, Healthy At NBCU initiative.

Mike Pilot, president of NBC Universal Sales and Marketing
said in a statement: "Not only do these types of efforts help reassemble
audiences, but they also go beyond traditional demos to tap in to consumer
lifestyles and attitudes, furthering that important connection with the

NBC Universal is also upping its spend on its own ad
marketing. The company is set to unveil a new business focused campaign, titled
Minds Over Media, which will underscore the company's cross platform offering
and its strong connection with women viewers. It is expected to run in upfront
week, May 17, in newspapers and trade magazines.