NBCU Plans Local, HD-Focused Ads For Summer Olympics

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Affiliates in about 20 markets will get promotional spots featuring local Olympians designed to boost local ad sales during the network’s coverage of the XXIX Olympiad in China, NBCU officials said Wednesday.

That's just one of the components of a multi-tiered promotional strategy planned by NBC Universal to promote viewership of the Olympics in Beijing beginning Aug. 8, according to Brian Hunt, senior vice president of marketing and sales strategy, TV networks distribution, NBC Universal.

The locally tied spots will appear in markets including Seattle (with slice-of-life spot featuring pole vaulter Brad Walker explaining what a pain it is to get his equipment on a plane); Los Angeles, with beach volleyball Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (pictured); and Cleveland, where gymnast Paul Hamm will be featured. Other markets will get generic spots, designed for tagging by local advertisers, Hunt said.

NBCU will also treat the Olympics viewing period as broadcasters do the Super Bowl: as a time when consumers mull HDTV purchases. Affiliates will be provided with on-air, direct mail and bill stuffers to promote HDTV content sales, as well as material designed to retain current HDTV subscribers. The latter highlights the quality and quantity of hours of coverage that will be provided on broadcast as well as CNBC, MSNBC, USA Network, Oxygen, Telemundo, NBC HD, Universal HD, USA HD and CNBC HD+.

Promotional materials will also include free video-on-demand content in advance, such as event previews and athlete interviews; during the games the best contests of the day will be excerpted.