Gannett Station Uses Elevator As Olympic Sales Tool

Dave Lougee speaks about opportunity in a certain non-buyer’s remorse that can set in during the Olympics. Advertisers in Gannett markets with NBC stations often find themselves entranced by the drama as the Games unfold, but by then the inventory can be all locked up.

So for this summer's London Games, the Gannett group has been making a concerted effort to target local advertisers much earlier with pitches that go beyond PowerPoint slides and use the “magic” of the Olympics, said Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting.

All 12 Gannett NBC stations in markets such as Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis and Phoenix have been charged with developing a tailored plan to reach out to car dealers, furniture chains, etc., perhaps by tapping into the appeal of local athletes One part of the initiative at Atlanta’s WXIA starts at the ground floor – literally.

The station is welcoming clients to its office with a transformed elevator service. The front doors feature images of an iconic British phone booth and U.K. flag. Step inside and there are photos of London and the NBC Olympic theme plays. Get out, walk under the Olympic rings and through a pair of ersatz Olympic flames and into a conference room with elements of a British pub. Sit down next to an impressive mural of athletes by a local Atlanta artist.

Then, inspirational, patriotic, touching videos full of Olympic energy play. “Two or three of our clients have actually cried at the end of those presentations, usually a good indication that they’re going to buy,” Lougee said at an investor event Thursday.

Whether those with the waterworks did so was unclear, but across the Gannett group Lougee said Olympic sales are pacing well above the Beijing Summer Games four years ago. So far, bookings are $5 million above the total dollars the group collected in 2008.

It’s possible Gannett might garner a 50% increase in Olympic net sales if it reaches the top end of a $32 to $36 million projection.

For both viewers and advertisers, it would be nice if the American medal count had such a notable bump and the stories are inspiring enough to make promotional videos for 2016 bigger tear-jerkers.  

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