NBC kicked off the upfront ad presentations this week, but the network did it differently. NBC (parent network of CNBC) already unveiled its primetime lineup six weeks ago, so NBC's upfront week extravaganza wasn't a presentation, but more of a theme park-like interactive attraction.
Called the "NBC Experience," it featured all of NBC Universal's properties, giving ad buyers one-stop shopping, showcasing broadcast, cable, mobile, web, and even outdoor advertising in the Universal theme parks and at NBC's gas pump network of sorts. The big buzz word was multi-platform, and NBC pulled out all the stops to show how it could target specific demographics: affluent women with the likes of Bravo, or young men with its football.
The NBC Experience tent was pretty cool and it seemed the ad buyers were having fun. Bravo's "Top Chefs" were there cooking fancy appetizers, the "American Gladiators" were there duking it out, "Kitt" the car from "Knight Rider" was there, and you could take your picture and superimpose it into photos of any of NBC's top shows. (My colleague Darren Rovell stuck his head on top of Jim Cramer's--quite a hoot. And I stuck my face on "Pam From The Office," one of my favorite shows).
And the walk through the "experience" culminated in a party in the Rockefeller Center ice rink area.
The question then is, will the high-priced party/experience pay off? I spoke to a couple of big ad buyers at the shindig last night and they said that NBC's right to push multi-platform deals as they're all the rage this year. Will the shindig push more ad sales for NBC? We'll see. The ad buyers told me that what they liked the best aboout NBC's strategy is the fact that they got the schedule six weeks early, giving them more time to plan and strategize.