NBC’s ‘Mr. Mayor’ promo campaign is a love letter to Los Angeles
NBC’s new comedy “Mr. Mayor” has been in development for years, and now that its premiere is on the horizon, the network has rolled out a promotional campaign to highlight one of the show’s most important characters: the city of Los Angeles.
Created by “Saturday Night Live” alum Tina Fey and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” producer Robert Carlock, the new sitcom stars Ted Danson as Neil Bremer, a retired businessman who runs for mayor of L.A. and—spoiler alert!—wins. But the out-of-touch Bremer is only as important as the nation’s second-largest city, which is not merely a backdrop for the show, but an integral part of the story.
After Danson’s character declares victory, though, “he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his biggest critic (Holly Hunter) and connect with his teenage daughter, all while trying to get anything right for America's second weirdest city,” according to NBC’s synopsis.
That final clause is the backbone of the show’s marketing campaign, which draws on the spirit of the City of Angels for its nationwide awareness bid. (Think health food, film studios and celebrity sightings—all quintessentially L.A.)
“There’s a lot of things [about Los Angeles] you can playfully make fun of,” says Kjerstin Beatty, executive VP of paid media, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. And those L.A. stereotypes are exactly what the “Mr. Mayor” ads are leaning into, going so far as to target its marketing by neighborhood in the greater Los Angeles area.
Created in-house by the NBCUniversal marketing team, the campaign includes TV spots, geo-targeted social ads and out-of-home media with cutesy slogans. “L.A. is like the Big Apple… if it were an avocado,” reads one digital billboard in Times Square; “Welcome to the Sunset Strip… home of the topless tour van,” says another in Hollywood.
Ahead of the series premiere, NBC struck a partnership with food delivery service Postmates that will include avocado toast giveaways in major markets such as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, as well as free delivery on all orders nationwide on the show’s premiere day, Jan. 7.
Bolstering the campaign’s experiential aspects, the network also worked with People and Entertainment Weekly to send physical, QR code-based postcards advertising the show to 500,000 of the magazines’ subscribers.
“A lot of the thinking that went into this plan was conceived when we knew we’d still be in a pandemic,” Beatty says, noting the use of virus-safe marketing methods like direct mail and home food delivery. “We were really looking at everything through a COVID filter.”
“Mr. Mayor” premieres on NBC this Thursday at 8 p.m. EST.