From the rise of brand films to financing important documentaries, marketers are recognizing that being behind the scenes can be more valuable than being front and center.
NBCUniversal is giving advertisers the opportunity to flex those muscles with a slate of new global content innovations, announced Wednesday, that allow brands to co-create content series with the network and run them across its properties.
The idea is to put marketers in the director’s seat to create unique series that line up with their brands while appealing to NBCU’s audience and aligning with its talent and brands.
“This is about true content creation,” said Josh Feldman, global chief marketing officer of NBCU’s advertising and partnerships group. “People come to our services for great content. Brands can play a huge role in that while working side-by-side with what we think are the best storytellers in the world.”
As part of the launch, NBCU is unveiling four content series: Diverse Storytellers offers a platform for diverse artists to share their work with NBCU’s global audience; The CEO Series will feature interviews with 12 CEOs on leadership and business; #ShesMy will feature NBCU talent and cultural icons talking about the women in their lives who inspire them, with an opportunity for brands to amplify the mission of nonprofit partners; and Story Pirates will bring children’s work to life through stop motion animation.
Each series will run across NBCU’s One Platform offering, targeting audiences that make the most sense for the brand. While there are some obvious fits, such as running the CEO series alongside CNBC content, “we'll find the right audiences for these stories as opposed to just programming them somewhere in search of an audience,” Feldman said.
“It’s completely flexible,” added Colette Winn, VP of creative partnerships, commerce and innovation at NBCU. “We partner to think through what's the right distribution [channel] and how we weave the brand into the messaging.”
This is NBCU’s second batch of content innovations in the market. In 2018, the network partnered with Google to host a “Friendsgiving” special, featuring actress and comedian Amy Poehler using the Google Home device to find recipes and prepare for the party. The segment during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC.
“Brands are in a position to stand for something and have a story behind them, as opposed to just pushing out and drawing more awareness,” Feldman said. “The creative expertise NBCU can bring and the scale of One Platform makes this a good place for brands to take bigger swings in the content space.”
NBCUniversal declined to name brands buying into these new content innovations yet, but Winn said the group is having “exciting conversations” with marketers.