NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Add the casts of such NBC shows as "Heroes" and "Medium" to the Budweiser Clydesdale horses and sundry Pepsi beverage logos you're likely to see if you watch the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.
Each year, marketers of beer, cars, soda, movies and snacks regularly rush to advertise in the Super Bowl. And each year, the TV network hosting the game joins their ranks, using the event to draw attention to its programming lineup. NBC will have five minutes' worth of promotional time during the Super Bowl, with the potential for between two and four minutes during halftime, said John Miller, chief marketing officer, NBC Universal TV Group, and president, NBC Agency. More time will be available in the network's pregame and postgame programming.
Getting to know you ... again
Viewers won't just see clips from shows and information about when to tune in to them, suggested Adam Stotsky, president-marketing, NBC Entertainment. The network has an opportunity to "reintroduce" viewers to NBC programs they might not currently be watching, he said, "as well as give current fans of some of the respective shows some special episode points to keep them coming back."
When speaking to advertisers earlier this year about its 2008-09 season, NBC cited its broadcasts of the Super Bowl and the Olympics as powerful venues that would help the network get the word out to millions of people about its entertainment content. With the network having trouble mounting a successful slate of shows -- and already announcing it would fill five hours of prime time in the fall of 2009 with a new program featuring Jay Leno -- its use of the Super Bowl is more important than it may have been in years past.
NBC isn't plunking down the $2.6 million to $3 million that media buyers say a 30-second ad costs in next year's adverganza. Even so, the network intends to be every bit as creative as any other advertiser, Mr. Stotsky said. "The bar is so high that, internally, our mantra is make sure the work is Super Bowl-worthy. We want our work to stand out in the way that all Super Bowl advertisers' work does."
Monday night to be highlighted
Count on seeing Super Bowl promos for NBC's Monday-night lineup, set to debut one day after the game airs. Perennial midseason replacement "Medium" starts its run at 10 p.m. "Chuck," which airs Mondays at 8 p.m., will feature a special 3-D episode and "Heroes," which airs Mondays at 9 p.m., will start a new story arc, which means new fans might be able to jump in. "You want to have a trailer version so [viewers] know what it's about," said Mr. Miller. "We also plan a different kind of spot that gets attention, the type of thing that will be displayed on YouTube the next day."
NBC will also be giving a spotlight during the game to "The Office." A special hourlong episode is set to run after Super Bowl coverage is complete. And NBC intends to promote "Kings," a drama that has been getting some good advance buzz and that launches in March.
Other potential Super Bowl promos from NBC could include something for drama stalwart "ER," which is winding down its final season; acknowledgments for the new late-night programs set to debut later next year featuring Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon; notes about Jay Leno's move to prime time; and a peek at a new comedy show from the producers of "The Office" featuring comedic actress Amy Poehler. The network will be refining its promo lineup well into January, the executives said.
Pregame 'Peacock Theater'
Whatever doesn't get into NBC's Super Bowl lineup could be promoted instead during the network's pregame and postgame coverage, suggested Mr. Miller. Other NBC Universal networks will also get some promotion time during these venues. Cable outlet USA will be promoted early in the postgame, he said, while figures representing Bravo's "Top Chef" will work a tailgate during the pregame coverage. NBC is also working on something it tentatively calls "Peacock Theater" for the pregame, during which actors and NBC talent will show up and viewers can see clips and highlights.
The network is likely to reach millions of people throughout the day, but heavy promotion is no guarantee of a program's future ratings success. "My Own Worst Enemy," a spy drama featuring Christian Slater and a broad alliance with General Motors, received plenty of promo time during NBC's Olympics broadcasts, but failed to find a large-enough audience during the fall.