NBC Universal wants to tap into the sounds of brands to capture viewers’ attention leading into commercial breaks.
The peacock is out in the upfront marketplace looking to sell its new “must hear TV” ad format, which of course plays off of NBC’s iconic “must see TV” catchphrase. The company has pitched the format to media agencies during the course of negotiations over the last few weeks.
“The advantage of TV has always been it is a visual medium, but the truth is in a world where people are multitasking while watching TV the goal is to get them to stop what they are doing and pay attention,” says Josh Feldman, head of marketing at NBCU. “Audio can be a trigger for when people are looking away.”
The way it works is the screen going out of an episode of a TV show would go dark and viewers would only hear sounds, like the crash of ocean waves or the rev of a motorcycle engine, before leading into a commercial pod.
So a travel and leisure brand, for example, could piggyback off a scene coming out of E!’s “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” where the famous family is on vacation on a tropical island. As the show enters the commercial break the screen would remain black and the sound would get quiet, Feldman says. Viewers may then hear birds chirping and ocean waves on a beach before seeing a commercial for a travel brand. These advertisers could either run custom content or their own creative, he says.
This is the latest ad innovation out of NBCU, which has been experimenting with various ad formats designed to engage viewers who have been accustomed to skipping over commercials or watching content on platforms that don’t have ad breaks. The company introduced shoppable ads last month, for example, allowing tennis fans watching the French Open to buy items worn by Novak Djokovic as part of his Lacoste Collection.