Let the Games Begin (In a Year)

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Let the marketing of the Games begin. On
July 27, the myriad platforms of NBCUniversal will trumpet
the one-year countdown to the opening ceremony of
the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

The programmer, which last month scored the U.S. media
rights to four more Olympics from 2014-20 for some $4.4
billion, will get out the message
via roadblocks on-air,
online and social media, as
well as in-house through internal

“We want to energize our
various constituencies: advertisers;
affiliates; all of our
cable, satellite and telco distributors;
the investment
community; and consumers,”
said John Miller, CMO of NBCU Television Group, and head of the NBC Sports Agency..
“We want to let them know
[the] London Games are
only a year away.”

While Miller said NBC
had supported earlier
Olympics countdown milestones,
the initiatives became
official for the 2008
Summer Games in Beijing
and for Vancouver in 2010.
Following the completion
of the joint venture with
General Electric in January,
Comcast’s entertainment channels and regional sports
networks have teamed with NBCU’s services and a digital
arsenal that has grown to 45 related websites. All of these
assets will be put into promotional play behind the start of
the London Games, for which NBCU allocated some $1.18
billion in rights.

Miller said the game plan calls for TV’s top morning
show, Today, to kick things into gear the morning of July
27, with various Olympic reports, athlete appearances.

NBC Sports Group Facebook pages, as well as Twitter
accounts, are scheduled to construct a social media roadblock
at 8 a.m. (ET). “We want to make social media a big
part of the Olympics from London and going forward,”
Miller said.

Twelve hours later, 20 broadcast (NBC and Telemundo)
networks and cable channels (USA, CNBC, E!, Versus, MSNBC,
Golf, Syfy and mun2, among them) will put up their
own roadblocks with a 60-second promo, flanked by 11
RSNs, some of which may run 30-second versions of the
spot, Miller said.

Advertising unit Comcast Spotlight also will help sound
the impending Olympic arrival by running the promo on
cross-channel avails on top cable networks, including Fox
News Channel, TNT, History and MTV, during the 8 p.m. hour.
All told, the spot will run on 33 networks during that span.

NBCU’s stable of sports and non-sports websites will carry
banner ads saluting the occasion; many of those will also
feature editorial content, as will NBCU corporate sites. NBCOlympics.com will sport a running countdown clock and
Games-related content.

For its part, the NBC Experience store will host Olympic

Miller said that while part of the plan is to get viewers/
consumers to take notice, he recognizes most watchers
won’t really start thinking about the Games until a couple
of months out, at the end of May and early June next year.

“We’ve done some research
in the past and to
the extent that if [the promo
push] raises awareness,
that’s great,” he said, noting
NBCU will be reminding the
public at various junctures
over the next year.

From a network standpoint,
Miller said, the London
Olympics will be flagged
during NBC’s coverage of
the Macy’s Thanksgiving
Day Parade, which like the
Games, attracts an audience
with strong female and family

NBC will also look to
bring Olympic appeal to
the NFL’s postseason in
January and February during
a pair of Wild Card
playof fs matchups and
what will be the nation’s
largest audience of 2012 —
and perhaps all-time in the
U.S. — with its coverage of Super Bowl XLVI.

The pace will pick up again at the end of March, into
April and accelerate during the May sweeps, before NBCU
crescendoes the promotional noise in June and July.

“The London schedule is a week or two earlier than Beijing’s,
but with all the extra Comcast platforms, we’re going
to be able to do a lot of shouting,” Miller said.