Show don’t tell: Verizon boosts 5G via program integrations

Credit: NBCUniversal
Credit: NBCUniversal

In partnership with new NBCUniversal sitcom, Verizon campaign lets viewers experience 5G for themselves through interactive holograms.

Like with many emerging technologies, there’s a lot of confusion around 5G.

Verizon aims to clear that up in a new campaign by showing people what 5G can make possible, rather than telling them.

Verizon has teamed up with NBCUniversal to bring lifelike holograms into people’s living rooms to demonstrate what the next generation of broadband can bring to life for consumers.

The campaign is tied to the season premier of NBCU’s new sitcom, Connecting…, which taps into everyone’s current reality by following a group of friends that try to stay close over video chat.

Viewers of the show’s next episode on Oct. 19 will be invited to scan a QR code on their screen that brings the show’s star, Otmarra Marrero, to life as a 5G-powered hologram in their living room. The episode also works in a mention of 5G seamlessly into the storyline, said Mark Marshall, president of ad sales and client partnerships at NBCU.

“5G became part of the story because all our relationships require technology right now,” he said. “That's how we're all living today.”

The AR execution will continue during the Billboard Latin Music Awards on Telemundo, airing Oct. 21, where viewers can bring a hologram of popular artist Wisin to their homes.

"The AR experiences unlocked with 5G are a game changer for AR scaling," said Verizon chief media officer John Nitti. "The speeds, low latency and capacity the network unlocks means more immersive, more detailed and more engaging experiences.

The AR experiences will be accessible through NBCU’s shoppable ad unit, which places a QR code on screen that takes viewers to a site where they can make a purchase. NBCU used the ad unit during a Parks and Recreation reunion fundraiser earlier this year.

“So many of us look at AR and they don't really mean anything,” Marshall said. “When it can actually add to the viewing experience or get you close to the event, those are the most interesting.”

The campaign is the latest iteration of a long-running partnership with Verizon, where NBCU tests new technologies from the wireless provider and integrates it into the viewer experience. Last year, during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, Verizon allowed viewers to control their own virtual balloons.

“The promise of interactivity in TV has been talked about for probably 25 years,” Marshall said. “This actually starts to bring some of those things to life.”

The campaign will also include a branded content integration in CNBCand MSNBC, that shows how Verizon’s 5G tech can help small businesses. 

The integrated campaign was planned using NBCU’s One Platform, which allows buyers to find their audiences wherever they live across the network’s various properties.

“The intention is to stop looking at things like, Thursday night at 8pm, and start looking at things more holistically,” Marshall said. “How do we turn those reach numbers into real impact?”

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