NBCU Unleashes More New Commercial Formats

NBCUniversal ads
One of NBCU's new ad formats lets viewers make a choice (Image credit: NBCUniversal)

NBCUniversal is unleashing more new advertising formats designed to keep viewers tuned in and reinforce marketing messages.

One format lets advertising vote on what ad they’ll see next. Another employs talent to amplify the marketers message. The Look Live format offers a quick production so spots can react to trending topics. Another integrates the brand into the show just before program time ends and the commercial starts.

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Some of these techniques have been used before in digital media. NBCU is making most of them available across as many of its platforms as possible.

“We are firmly positioning ourselves at the crossroads of being a media company and a technology company,” said Josh Feldman, chief marketing officer, NBCUniversal advertising & partnerships. 

Some of the formats are content based, others are product based. But the objective is “making advertising more enjoyable for the viewing public and making it more effective for the advertisers themselves,” Feldman said.

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The ideas are generated by a group led by Collette Winn, VP, creative partnerships, commerce and innovation, advertising and partnerships, NBCUniversal. The ideas are thoroughly tested before being released and build on innovations employed by advertisers in prior seasons, she said.

And they work. According to NBCU, 93% of viewers said they like commercial innovation ads better than standard ad formats, 70% said they’re less likely to change the channel, and 88% said they remember the brand in a better way after seeing one of the new-fangled ad executions.

Feldman said he couldn’t put a dollar figure on how much it costs an advertiser to run one of these special, customized commercials.

“We’ve created all of these in the mind of making a more effective advertising environment, so there is true value to that,” Feldman said. 

“As with anything there's a scale of cost based upon what the idea is, who the advertiser is, how many times it’s executed. Is this part of an overall deal that is bigger than just the innovation itself? There’s so many different factors that would come into that,” he said. “Every one of these deals is a snowflake.”

The vast majority of the ads will be sold as part of the upfront, which will be negotiated over the next few weeks. The hard part is finding the right innovation for the right brands and the right programming to run them in, he said.

Here’s how NBCU describes its new commercial formats.

@homeShopping transforms couch surfing into an immersive, interactive shopping experience with AR-driven commerce activations that place NBCU talent in the living rooms of viewers around the world for a special showing of brands' products. Tapping into NBCUniversal’s One Platform Commerce, viewers simply scan the on-screen code to jump start the experience from their mobile device.

Choose Your Destiny puts consumers in the driver's seat as they choose their own advertising journey on screen. This innovation provides personalized ad experiences decided by fans themselves -- whether it is social voting tabulated in real time to decide the next installment of a brand's creative for an upcoming linear pod, or digital-first branded content experiences that empower consumers to choose the brand narrative that best suits their interests, consumers will have unique, interactive viewing experiences, while brands gain deeper knowledge of their products.  

Look Live empowers advertisers around the world to move at the speed of instant communication and evolve their stories to match the day's trending conversations. Leveraging cutting-edge production techniques and trafficking processes, marketers can create quick-turn premium content that moves from shoot to on-air debut in under 36 hours. With Look Live, brands can ensure they are delivering the authentic, relevant messages consumers both expect and crave in the moment.  

Stay in Show taps into the native canvasses within a show to create new advertising opportunities that spotlight a brand's creative all within the viewing experience itself. For example, with Stay in Show, marketers' creative can launch from the screen on set, extending the deep engagement viewers have with NBCUniversal's content to the advertising interaction. And with geo-targeting capabilities, passive placements can be layered on top of the viewer experience, creating highly relevant opportunities for brands to connect with their customers.  

Interactive Scripted Commercial Launch creates a smooth, seamless transition between showtime and commercial break. Interactive Scripted Commercial Launch uses 2D and 3D technology to integrate both the brand within the show, and the show within the brand to retain consumers' focus at a moment where their attention can be pulled away. The results are a flawless handoff into brands’ creative that drives viewer engagement with intriguing visuals and eye-catching technology, leading to strong impact for marketers. 

Take:15 offers brands an opening act led by NBCUniversal talent ahead of their commercial spot. Powered by The Talent Room at NBCU, Take:15 creates a grab-the-mic moment for advertisers where the iconic stars consumers love, put a spotlight on and amplify the company's message. Whether it's a joke leading into a 30 second spot, a talent tip offered to viewers about the product they are about to see, graphic-based creative that adds a new layer to a brand's story, or a precocious insight delivered by the up-and-coming generation of tastemakers, this pre-emptive moment draws smart attention to marketers' key messages. 

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.