SBD/Issue 238/NFL Season Preview

NFL Media Notes: NBC Tweaks SNF Marketing

Advertisers “paid premium prices for prime football ad time” in this year’s upfront, with CPM rate increases as high as 25% on programs such as NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” according to AD AGE’s Andrew Hampp. ESPN/ABC Sports Consumer Marketing & Sales President Ed Erhardt “is also reporting ‘extremely limited inventory’ going into the second season" of “MNF.”  Erhardt: “We’re better sold this year than we were last year, and last year we were really well sold.” Miller, which buys NFL spots on Fox, NBC, CBS, and ABC, “will spend the bulk of its football money” this year on a “wide-ranging multi-platform deal” with ESPN (AD AGE, 9/3 issue).

NBC'S NEW APPROACH: ADWEEK’s Joan Voight notes that on the new ads for NBC’s "Sunday Night Football," there is  "a heavy emphasis on the ‘Sunday night’ part, but not so much the ‘football,'" as NBC attempts to "generate the broader viewership it needs -- particularly among young adults.” Working with Jump Asociates, San Mateo, the net sent members of its marketing team into nine living rooms of people in their twenties to observe them watching football at home.  The marketers and consultants then convened in an office “decorated to look like a typical living room.” NBC Universal Sports & Olympics VP/Strategic Marketing & Communications Mike McCarley said that the living room setting got network execs “into the mood and mind-set of their target audience.” McCarley said that those insights “resulted in the branding strategy that unfolded this summer,” the tagline, “Sunday Night is football night,” and an "entertainment-oriented position." McCarley: “We realized that watching sports on a weekend night is a social and interactive activity for TV viewers.” McCarley also indicated that SNF “is not competing with ['MNF'], as many people assumed. Its real rivals are the Sunday daytime games and evening TV programming” such as ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” Fox’ “The Simpsons,” and CBS’ “60 Minutes” (ADWEEK, 9/3).

ESPN: ESPN is running a new integrated marketing campaign, via Wieden & Kennedy, N.Y., to air primarily on ABC and ESPN promoting "MNF." The campaign includes seven TV spots, including the spot that ran during preseason games featuring players such as Saints RB Reggie Bush, Bengals WR Chad Johnson and Chargers TE Antonio Gates humming the MNF theme (ADWEEK, 9/4).  The “Lucky For Us, They Chose Football” marketing campaign for ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown,” also via Wieden & Kennedy, N.Y., launched this week highlighting the chemistry among Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Emmitt Smith, and Chris Mortensen. The three TV spots show the team hosting mock studio shows for activities such as pottery, motorcycle maintenance and landscaping (ESPN).

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