The major TV networks will use this week’s upfront spectacles to pound on digital platforms, as opposed to each other, based on today’s opening presentation from NBCUniversal of Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships Chairman Linda Yaccarino.
Noting that “television is the most effective advertising medium ever,” she told a gathering of advertisers at Radio City Music Hall that “with NBCUniversal you never have to worry about your ads showing up next to something objectionable.”
“That’s a low bar,” she added. “And some companies can’t even do that.”
Several advertisers recently pulled ads from Google’s YouTube and Facebook after seeing sales pitches linked to material from hate groups, suicides and a murder.
“The upfronts are really only about one thing: Selling your stuff,” Yacarino says. “We sell jeans and the laundry detergent that cleans them. The cars you drive. And the movies you rush to see in theaters on opening weekend. Toothpaste. Sneakers. Your favorite snacks and so much more.”
She talked up research showing that what TV networks like to call premium video delivers four times the brand awareness as paid social media, and 11 times more than short form video.
Taking a swipe at the inconsistent measures of digital reach, Yaccarino says that “we don’t get to grade our own homework. I mean, what the hell is a ‘view’ anyway? Has a ‘view’ ever bought any of your products? Has a ‘like’ ever walked into a store?…Viewers buy products.”
In addition to providing a safe haven for sales pitches, she says that the company can “elevate them with the premium content that you love.”
She characterized NBCU as a “company that’s already on fire with the biggest portfolio in the industry” with sports — including the upcoming Super Bowl and Winter Olympics — and digital ties to Vox Media, Buzzfeed, Apple News, and Snapchat.
Alluding to parent company Comcast’s cross marketing Project Symphony initiatives to promote productions and services across all of its platforms, she says that NBCU is “the only company that can reach every single smartphone in the country.”
She took on the complaint that TV, despite its reach, often can’t target ads to the people most likely to buy a company’s product — especially using the common age and demographic information from Nielsen ratings.
NBCU “built the capabilities ourselves,” to target ads more precisely.
She repeated the company’s vow in March to sell $1 billion of its inventory in this year’s upfront market using data from its Audience Targeting Platform (ATP), which includes information from set top boxes and third party sources. It will use data from Vox and Moat “to measure all viewing of live, linear and digital.”
“All of us can compare different video environments with just one metric,” she says.
For the last two years the company only offered ATP deals to what it called “certain brand segments and only during the Upfront.” But this year it will be available to all advertisers, and in the scatter market as well as the upfront.
Even so, she says that NBCU won’t become too enamored with data and algorithms. “No algorithm would have taken a chance on Mr. Robot before it became a critical fan favorite and a Golden Globe winner.”
Yaccarino didn’t ignore her TV network rivals. “Nothing you’re going to see after this show is going to come even close to topping it,” she vowed.