NBC makes push to woo direct-to-consumer advertisers

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November 13, 2018 episode of 'This Is Us'
November 13, 2018 episode of 'This Is Us' Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

NBC Universal is making a push to attract more direct-to-consumer brands, which have typically spent a bulk of their marketing dollars on out-of-home or digital, to advertise on the Peacock's portfolio of TV networks and sites.

NBC is rolling out a new program that makes advertising on TV and premium video more accessible to DTC brands. Initially, NBC will work with Giant Spoon, which is building up a roster of DTC brands that it will announce in early 2019.

As TV networks expand capabilities to target audiences beyond traditional age and gender demographics and deliver data showing if commercials drove specific business results, it's opening up an opportunity for DTC brands that have relied on Google and Facebook for these types of data and results.

As these DTC brands look to grow and "transcend the feed," they are turning to TV to build scale and awareness, says Laura Correnti, partner at Giant Spoon.

While many DTC brands steered clear of TV because of the cost of entry, Correnti says they are realizing there are ways to work with tradtional networks to achieve business goals.

"As these brands mature, they need to scale and they are acknowledging to get that reach, there's one place they need to go," says Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnership at NBCU. "There's no better way to build immediate scale and build your brand than with premium video versus the limitations of performance-based advertising."

For NBCU, and TV networks in general, DTC brands represent a potentially untapped category of ad dollars at a time when these companies are struggling to compete with the duopoly. DTC brands are certainly growing in popularity and disrupting traditional commerce.

NBCU is offering DTC brands complete campaign consultation, from audience connections and content creation to cross-platform measurement and placement optimization. They will have access to NBCU's data-science, research and strategy teams, as well as its in-house creative teams to develop assets.

These deals will also be guaranteed on business outcomes, rather than on Nielsen demographics, something the TV industry has been attempting to move away from the last several years.

"It's a new day of measurement," Yaccarino says. "We will be lessening our reliance on traditional and legacy measurement that doesn't really serve a business purpose for our clients."

This comes after NBCU recently partnered with crafts retailer Michaels, which hasn't done much TV advertising, to prove that a combination of TV and digital marketing would enhance sales growth—more so than just relying on digital marketing, which is what the retailer had been doing.

Those people who saw Michaels ads on TV and premium video and also on other digital sites saw a 48 percent jump in sales on average. This compares to a 23 percent sales lift for those who only saw digital ads, according to NBCU.

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