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In the turbulent advertising market, NBCUniversal offers flexibility to clients


At a time when the advertising business is still adapting to a tough economic environment, media companies must be creative and flexible to meet the needs of their customers.

With TV precasts for 2023 kicking off in the coming weeks, companies are starting to sharpen their pitches.

At NBCUniversal, among other offerings, the company will be highlighting one offering they’ve been working on for the past year but might make sense in the current climate: a global to local ad offering. One that allows a buyer to buy ad time around the world (including via e.g. Sky in the UK) or at a local market level (via Peacock or a local NBC station).

For advertisers, the ability to move their advertising budget (up or down) and in a flexible way is the kind of thing that Mark Marshall, president of advertising sales for NBCUniversal, has become critical.

“Depending on your marketing needs, you might want to move dollars from the English language to the Spanish language,” says Marshall, pointing to the fact that his company owns Telemundo. “You may want to move from sports to entertainment or from entertainment to sports.”

This year is an unusual time for advertising, with budgets paused or shifting, some categories down, others up. But at the same time, the market has grown enormously.

“35 percent of today’s advertisers didn’t exist before the pandemic,” says Marshall. “In two years, almost 300,000 new brands and companies have started advertising.”

And NBCU, which also has ad partnerships with companies like Apple News, wants to showcase more of its offerings in conversations with ad partners.

“A lot of people still think of it as just NBC [the broadcast network]but when you put all the pieces together, we want to start having conversations that are much broader about their entire marketing strategy,” says Marshall, adding that he wants his team to “figure out how we can leverage their investment in all the different pieces of NBCU, and this has really taking shape over the last few years, really emerging from COVID, where every customer we talked to talked about flexibility.

Flexibility is the keyword. Marshall uses the example of a car manufacturer.

“If you think about the car category, you have a national budget, often regional budgets all the way up to a local budget,” he notes.

So a car buyer who relied on national brand ad spending because cars remained scarce on dealer lots can, if he wants, shift some of that budget to local markets to get customers to the doors as more cars become available.

Or a global brand looking for a global branding effort and some more localized options could achieve both goals at once. Marshall notes the case study from global consulting firm Accenture.

“For them, you know, they were trying to reach current customers and tell their stories, but also potential customers,” says Marshall. “At the same time, they also try to tell the story to current employees, but also to future employees.”

“One phone call to NBC reduces complexity,” said John Chleborad, Accenture’s head of global advertising and social media. “So for a global brand like ourselves to launch in a truly global way, that typically means having different teams working in each geolocation. They can be separate purchases, and those separate purchases create fragmentation.”

“So we can work directly with one team at NBCU and they can spread our message around the world across their entire portfolio,” added Chleborad. “It’s one call to place ads in the Premier League in Europe, in Globo in Brazil, Sunday night football in the US, top shelf, multi-channel, TV, digital live events, it’s very compelling.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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