NBC U 2009 “Green is Universal” Branding Campaign

NBC Universal’s 2009 marketing campaign, “Green is Universal”, kicks off formally on April 19 with the Miss USA Pageant. In a flurry of business buzz during this week’s upfronts, B&C reports that the tagline “Green Lives Here” will be adapted and extended to individual brands and advertisers that come on board.

For those of you missing my “creative leaning” posts, don’t worry- lots more really sharp work right around the corner. In these changing economic times, i’d be remiss if I didn’t speak to at least some of the specific challenges media congloms are being faced with, as well as the opportunities and solutions they pursue. One fundamental aspect of this blog is to have a conversation about our shifting businesses, how to connect branding solutions to short & long term strategic sales planning.

In an interesting and bold strategy, NBC Universal outlined its green initiatives, previewed its new marketing campaign and presented research to bolster its claims that advertisers that buy into its “green” packages are making a wise investment.

A number of examples have been cited as to how the branding campaign might integrate into packaged deals with sponsors and advertisers. For instance a promo during The Tonight Show could be “Green Laughs Here” while a spot for Walmart might be tagged with “Green Shops Here”. Here’s a 2008 tag example:

The research also suggested that NBC Universal’s attempt to brand itself as the “green” media conglom were effective. 82% of respondents agreed that the campaign “Shows NBC U’s commitment to the environment” and when asked to name which network was the most “green,” 30% named NBC, compared to 5% for FOX and 4% for ABC and CBS.

The point of the research was to make the case that even in a recession, green sells. Conservation is suddenly chic, and so companies looking to brand themselves around “green” efforts have a better chance of picking up a piece of the dwindling consumer spending pie.

The new campaign may help boost NBC U’s image, but it is also very much a cash infusion strategy. Lauren Zalaznick, who leads the effort, says the company reduced its emissions by 3% in the last year, resulting in a savings of $2 million. In addition, the network sells custom sponsorship opportunities, positioning its advertisers as thought leaders on the “green” front.

All of this might make NBC’s play for the green market seem slightly unwise, as it could end up being off-putting to loyal viewers without attracting new eyeballs. We’ll find out for sure, though, in the Nielsen ratings.  The campaign will run on all NBC Universal properties through April 26, 2009.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “NBC U 2009 “Green is Universal” Branding Campaign

  1. From a purely design standpoint, I must say, I really love the Green is Universal logo. It feels like an evolution of the original Universal logo, even though it’s a separate campaign. I think it was cleverly done.

    I’m not liking the green NBC logo, though. I think there’s a lot of potential in using the peacock as a “green” mascot, as birds are so connected with Nature in people’s minds, but I think simply turning the peacock part of the logo green is too heavy-handed. It comes off as false. My first thought for a green NBC campaign would be to make the peacock come alive and animate it. It could make for some especially interesting TV bumps.

  2. Chris

    I find it hilarious that Monday is 4/20, and they throw a green logo up on the 4/19. Almost like they’re saying “get ready for 4/20” or something.

  3. @ Sarah, regarding the use of the NBC logo in the campaign, keep in mind that this campaign spans multiple networks, including USA, Bravo, SciFi, etc. So, the peacock isn’t appropriate as a motif for GIU.

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