NBC transforms ad dept. into agency

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In an effort to highlight its work, the NBC TV network is giving its in-house ad department a proper Madison Avenue-type name -- the NBC Agency.

John Miller, president of advertising and promotion at NBC, will be president of the agency. Vince Manze, senior VP-advertising and promotion, will take the title of exec VP-creative director.

NBC executives said the move gives it the latitude to cement the department's expanding duties -- producing TV, radio, print and outdoor creative as well as handling media planning and buying.

Its clients will continue to be wholly owned NBC units or companies in which the network has a minority stake. That roster now includes the NBC TV network and its site; cable channels MSNBC and CNBC and their sites; search site Snap; NBC Enterprises, which markets home videos of NBC network shows; and NBC International.

NBC says the move was necessary because the network needed a clearer image when dealing with NBC's cable, Web sites and other businesses.


"We had a nice little cottage," said Mr. Miller, about the growth of his department. "Then we built a second floor, and put in a garage. Then we had a house that was sort of ugly. So we tore it down and built a new one where there is now a good flow of traffic between all the rooms."

NBC claims its ad department is more centralized and yields more sway than at other networks. Mr. Miller, for instance, has the informal title of "promo czar," letting him dole out promotion time for the NBC operations under his control. Some $1 billion in promotional time -- from NBC's cable outlets, its broadcast network and owned stations -- is run through the operation.

Many non-NBC Web sites have inquired about hiring the NBC Agency, Mr. Miller said, but it won't be handling any of this outside business.

It did project work for Launch Media, Talk City and iVillage, sites in which NBC has a financial stake.

In the coming months, the agency will be concentrating on CNBC.com, helping to get the site relaunched with a new campaign.

"It's an extremely recognized brand," said Mr. Miller. "Our goal is to broaden the knowledge of the brand."

The campaign will start next month and continue into the first quarter.

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