TUESDAY 11:15 AM UPDATE: So have fun with this. Comcast tells me it rebranded its logo because of its 50th anniversary next year. “We spent the last year starting to prepare for that and thinking what the Comcast story is. The company has changed so dramatically in the past 2 years. The acquisition of NBCUniversal now makes us a media company. That, with our digital technology and new products and services, all came to life during the Olympics this summer. We can’t use the rings. So we brought back the iconic peacock brand to Comcast to express that the parent company is made up of two entities. We wanted to visually tell people that something had changed.” No truth to the rumor that the bird had been lying low in Albuquerque while it was banished. And still no plans to add Universal’s spinning globe to the Comcast logo.
TUESDAY 12:30 AM: Almost a year ago Comcast unveiled a new NBCUniversal logo which did not include either rainbow peacock or Universal’s revolving world globe. Instead NBCUniversal was given an ugly, generic, and very purple look, prompting snark that Comcast’s first act after taking over NBCU was to demote the bird. But today Comcast unveiled a new corporate website. And, surprise surprise, it quietly returned the peacock by adding it to the parent company logo. So here’s what I think happened. (I won’t find out the official reason until morning…) When Comcast took over NBC, the network’s ratings were in the crapper. So the parent company banished the peacock. But this year NBC’s primetime lineup won its first November sweeps since 2003 under Comcast-installed NBC Entertainment President Bob Greenblatt and a lineup of NFL football (pre-Comcast), The Voice (pre-Comcast), and Revolution (post-Comcast). (When NBC last topped adults 18-49 in November sweeps, it was showing The West Wing, Friends and ER.) So now Comcast, presumably proud as a peacock, took the bird out of the Witness Protection Program. And what about the Universal globe? Well, the movie studio is coming off a bad slump. But 2012’s Ted is now the highest grossing original R-rated comedy worldwide. And Universal’s holiday pic Les Miserables is expected to gross big at the global box office and even score an Oscar nod. I have a hunch that, if Les Mis wins Best Picture, the Universal globe will be spinning atop the Comcast logo very soon.
NBC viewers know the peacock never went away. But Comcast claimed a year ago it wanted to clean up the NBCU logo by cutting not only the bird but also the Universal globe. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams even felt compelled to bring it up during a companywide town hall meeting last January: he complained to NBCU chief Steve Burke how “It’s our Coca-Cola. It’s our Apple. It’s our Ford Motor Company, that instantly recognizable thing.” Burke replied, “I would assume that the peacock is a big part of NBC and CNBC and MSNBC for years to come.” But who knew it would return as part of Comcast’s logo?