NBC Taps Microsoft to Promote Fall TV Season

After a series of prime-time flops and the meltdown in January of its Tonight Show franchise, NBC needs a few hits.

One way it aims to juice its fall TV lineup is through an extensive online and mobile ad buy with Microsoft Advertising. The campaign will span multiple platforms, from the Xbox to to Windows Mobile to MSN to Bing.

The budget for the campaign, which will kick of May 17, was not disclosed. But Microsoft characterized it as “one of its largest and most comprehensive campaigns ever,” in a written statement, spanning 19 different digital properties. NBC said it was an “unprecedented early launch” of a promotional campaign for a TV season.

In addition to display advertising, Microsoft will unveil five Windows 7 theme packs representing different shows that users can download as desktop themes; a first-of-its-kind Bing integration that will lead fans to photos and videos of NBC shows; in-game ads via Microsoft’s gaming ad network Massive; and a custom WAP site with SMS alerts via Windows Mobile. NBC and Microsoft will also collaborate on branded content available at a “Preview to Fall TV” media hub.

The theme of the campaign and the new season is “More Colorful,” a concept that will be run throughout the various assets.

Robin Domeniconi, VP of U.S. advertising sales, publishing and marketing at Microsoft, said in a written statement that the deal gave Microsoft the opportunity to “tailor NBC’s content for each property and screen, from MSN to Xbox and Windows Mobile, and flex our targeting muscles to tell a cohesive story of NBC’s brand and fall lineup.”

Microsoft Advertising ranked a distant third among all online publishers for Q1 2010, according to comScore, with 5.5 percent of total online impressions (60 billion impressions). Facebook was first with 16. 2 percent (176 billion impressions), and Yahoo ranked second with 12. percent (132 billion impressions).

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