The marketing executives behind NBC's Must See TV slogan have come up with a new "whole life" marketing campaign: Smart Art.
It's not a slogan but the code name for the new graphics and promotional look that will be unveiled this week with NBC's Olympic coverage.
The Must See TV moniker isn't going anywhere, and the famed peacock is still preening-in fact, it's the centerpiece of the campaign, designed to bring one look across all the network's dayparts.
"We have images here that could go up very nicely in the Guggenheim Museum," says NBC Agency President John Miller of the new promotional campaign. Miller, Executive Vice President and Creative Director Vince Manze were the team behind Must See TV's 1993 launch, and they're leading the charge with Smart Art.
The look is hip and multilayered and features many of the network's stars in settings bordering on the surreal. While ABC has gone with a yellow theme, the six original colors of the NBC peacock will be spread across each promotional spot, and the peacock itself will be seen in varying forms. Black-and-white video will be mixed with color and graphics for an almost 3-D feel.
Then there are the six female dancers, dubbed "The Peacock Girls," with umbrellas in classic NBC peacock hues.
"The network exists 24 hours a day, and it has multiple dayparts," says Miller. "One of the things that we have always been eager to try to do is to have a series of looks that made it more an NBC feel, and we're doing that this year.
Miller and Manze, whose division oversees creative needs for CNBC, MSNBC, NBC and the network's Internet interests, say NBC needed a distinct overall look.
"Some graphics say smart adult," says Manze. "Others say smart children, like a Nickelodeon. We have tried to come up with a graphics package that says sophisticated adult. It's what our programming is. Look at Will & Grace, The West Wing, and on and on."
Creative executives at NBC spent three weeks in New York this summer shooting various background shots in Central Park, on Wall Street and even in Yonkers.
The bumpers (five-second ads within shows-for example, "You are watching Will & Grace on NBC") and sweepers (spots between shows-for instance, "Coming up next on Frasier, Daphne goes crazy") will have a similar look but with subtle differences. Spots for comedies will be lighter, with a white "branding bar" that says the name of the show and its time slot. Dramas, such as Law & Order, will be darker with nighttime backgrounds, and many will use time-lapse photography.
With Olympics coverage as a billboard and Emmys aplenty to promote, the network's new fall lineup could have a promotional leg up on the competition.