NBC ADDS AOL ADS; SIGNS KETCHUM INTERACTIVE

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NBC is stepping up its interactions with advertisers and agencies.

The peacock network on Nov. 15 unveils its new Advertiser Showcase area on America Online. The first participants will be Toyota Motor Sales USA and sister division Lexus.

NBC also is adding Ketchum Interactive, Los Angeles, to its roster of interactive marketing consultants. Ketchum joins CKS Partners, Cupertino, Calif., named agency of record for interactive marketing last month (AA, Sept. 26).

The NBC Online Advertiser Showcase is NBC's latest step toward integrating its network TV advertisers into its interactive marketing efforts.

NBC's first full-scale online promotion, with McDonald's Corp., ended recently. Now, the goal is to broaden the scope of advertiser participation in the online area.

NBC is trying a different strategy for Toyota and Lexus than the one used for McDonald's. Compared with the McDonald's area, which was designed as a corporate environment with games, trivia, safety tips and commercials to download, the Toyota and Lexus materials are spartan.

Users can access information on car models, engineering specifications and other Toyota and Lexus information at their leisure. Multimedia clips showcasing the automobiles can be downloaded, and local dealer listings are available.

NBC worked with Toyota agency Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, New York, and Lexus shop Team One, El Segundo, Calif. CKS Partners designed the multimedia clips.

Toyota and Lexus have exclusivity in the NBC area through yearend, at which time other NBC network TV advertisers will begin to participate as part of upfront TV advertising packages they negotiated for the 1994-95 season, said Alan Cohen, NBC exec VP-marketing.

"A lot of advertisers will be participating as part of promotions, much the way they might be involved with us in-flight or in other media," said Mr. Cohen.

Advertisers do not pay separately to be involved in the online areas but qualify for the promotions as part of their advertising commitments.

Mr. Cohen said the Advertiser Showcase area will be an evolving concept, changing based on how advertisers want to be involved.

The next advertisers to join will be from package goods, domestic automotive and computer categories, among others.

In the agency realm, Mr. Cohen said CKS remains NBC's interactive agency of record, but said the network wants to establish interactive marketing relationships with a variety of agencies like Ketchum Interactive, much the way its on-air promotion department works with a string of creative boutiques.

"Much the way that we work with a bunch of agencies on the promotion side, we will be working with different agencies on the interactive side," said Mr. Cohen, noting that no specific projects have been developed yet with Ketchum.

"Just like we worked with Leo Burnett's interactive group on the McDonald's area, we would like to work with a lot of different agencies to learn what we can develop for advertisers."

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