Cannes Lions

THE OLYMPICS ON NBC

THE NBC AGENCY, Burbank / NBC / 2002

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Re-position 2002 Winter Olympic Games as relevant to young viewers. Change their image of the games by spotlighting the elements organic to the event which fit the “hot/cool” test: hot athletes and cool sports. Drive tune-in to NBC. “The Olympics Trailer: How’s My Boarding?” was designed to reach viewers – 18-34 – by using an attitude to which they relate, by entertaining while informing, and by shining the halo of “movie coolness” over the games.We decided to produce the spot first and foremost to run in theatres in the top 25 US markets. Being on the big screen with an Olympic message was unexpected…the medium itself put the Olympics in a new category.As the production was big budget (for NBC), we wanted to extend its reach by developing multiple applications. In addition to running in theaters, we secured a marketing partnership with Columbia TriStar to distribute the trailer on the home video release of “A Knight’s Tale” - a direct hit on our target market. We went online through a partnership with MSNBC.com (home of NBCSports.com and NBCOlympics.com).This Internet partnership resulted in an unbranded website designed entirely around the extreme sports of the winter Olympics: HotSnow.com. The site was promoted virally through a sticker posted on the bottom of the snowboard used in the trailer. The sticker read, “How’s My Boarding? HotSnow.com.”Traffic driven to the site was able to view the trailer again through video-streaming and MSNBC.com captured the names of those registering for membership in HotSnow.Finally, the trailer ran on NBC, but in a slightly different format. Beginning in early December, “teasers” were broadcast on the network, which revealed different phases of the snowboard journey told in the complete trailer. Each phase was abruptly ended with a message driving viewers to HotSnow.com. On the day the trailer debuted in theatres (January 2002), the spot ran on NBC in its entirety, revealing the ending to viewers.Additionally, we secured a marketing partnership with Universal Pictures. Product placement in the spot for the re-release of “ET” was given in exchange for cash to help underwrite the production costs of the campaign. The “ET” placement in trailer enhanced the “movie” feel of the piece.The 2002 Olympics on NBC were the highest-rated in years. Ratings were up more than 25% with adults 18-34. Revenues were the highest ever with an additional $20 million sold during the games themselves due to the overnight ratings reports. Press coverage of the trailer project was strong and included a story in the Wall Street Journal and on “Access Hollywood” – extending our marketing efforts to a secondary target – our advertisers. From inception to implementation, the team at The NBC Agency owned this project. We lobbied to establish the Olympics as an “account” with the goal of re-positioning the games with young adults, 18-34. We held brainstorming sessions throughout The Agency to generate innovative ideas - that’s where the “go-off-channel-to-movie-theatres” idea was born. As the idea was way beyond the normal price range of NBC’s promotional spots for any on-air program, we secured marketing partners to offset costs. We developed the creative detail-by-detail with the goal of producing a mini-movie that would spotlight the coolness of winter Olympic sports and athletes, and we secured the buy-in not only of NBC senior management, but the United States Olympic Committee, the US Ski Team and other interested parties. The long-revered Olympics just weren’t seen as hip and relevant to younger viewers, 18-34. As the home of the Olympics for the next ten years, NBC needed to reposition the games, stop the erosion and develop interest in the 2002 event; building equity for the future. With the power of the NBC network at its fingertips, NBC rarely goes off-channel except for print media, but we knew we needed to go where the target was and use a medium the target identified as hip. That meant theatres. The “Olympics Trailer: How’s My Boarding?” is special in many ways: untraditional media for NBC, quality/style of creative, and the behind-the-scenes marketing partnerships, which made it all possible.We knew we needed to produce something that would intrigue the target, illuminate the “cool” factor of the games and hold its own against the movie trailers playing before and after our spot. The trailer showcases two winter sports and athletes, but in the style of a mini-movie…combining James Bond/video game styles. The creative is non-stop action enhanced by hip humour and driving music.The piece promotes sports in an unprecedented style designed specifically for the target while communicating the bottom line marketing points.It’s style and content.

Execution

From inception to implementation, the team at The NBC Agency owned this project. We lobbied to establish the Olympics as an “account” with the goal of re-positioning the games with young adults, 18-34. We held brainstorming sessions throughout The Agency to generate innovative ideas - that’s where the “go-off-channel-to-movie-theatres” idea was born. As the idea was way beyond the normal price range of NBC’s promotional spots for any on-air program, we secured marketing partners to offset costs. We developed the creative detail-by-detail with the goal of producing a mini-movie that would spotlight the coolness of winter Olympic sports and athletes, and we secured the buy-in not only of NBC senior management, but the United States Olympic Committee, the US Ski Team and other interested parties.

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