NBCU/Comcast Readies For Mega-Marketing Packages

Get ready for Ryan Seacrest to interview an animated bunny on E!'s Red Carpet coverage before the Academy Awards. For contestants on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" to come up with a campaign for the character. And Comcast phone customers to get free 411 calls if they're willing to listen to his voice.

To borrow a few lines, it will soon be incessant "Show me the Bunny" across the unending platforms of Comcast NBC Ex-GE Universal Wal-Mart.

While live tweeting Comcast's "welcome NBC Universal employees" town hall Friday, MediaBistro's Alex Weprin dropped this news: NBCU CEO Steve Burke indicated the spring premiere of Universal film "Hop" will serve as a laboratory for the promotional opportunities the new company offers across its properties.

No doubt, if the multiplatform -- a term that sounds so limited when Comcast NBCU is concerned -- initiative works, the company will have grist as it takes it outside and offers some sort of mega-marketing package to big spenders.



What will be the metric? The 2010 Universal-distributed film "Despicable Me" - done with the same partners as the "Hop" - grossed some $250 million-plus in the U.S., so there's one benchmark.

That film actually used some promotional integrations with corporate sibling NBC. For one, calling on "Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels to do promo videos with two animated characters from the movie.

The animated "Hop" is about the teenage son of the Easter Bunny, who is about to take over the family business. Instead, he rebels and follows his dream of becoming a drummer. Not that this has anything to do with anything, but the character known as "E.B." has about zero resemblance to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NBCU head Steve Burke, who both went into the family business.

According to the memo sent by Burke announcing appointments before Comcast NBCU was formed, two executives stand out as playing top roles in cross-company sales: Ed Swindler, ad sales COO at NBCU, and Page Thompson, charged with integrating Comcast's technological and distribution capabilities with NBCU's programming arsenal.

For media buyers mulling strategy about opportunities at the new NBCU, there's ample pickings -- from the talent on E! to product placement on NBC to VOD iTV. Several agencies endorsed the Comcast/NBCU formation in filings with the FCC for just those reasons.

Which could have Procter & Gamble and GM trying to mirror a "Hop" case study. Which indeed could have Seacrest doing a mock interview with "E.B." before the Oscars, or James Lipton grilling him during an interstitial on Bravo.

Maybe we'll see him before an NHL playoff game on Versus or NBC, perhaps an "In the Hop-per" list of bench players ready for action. Or a dedicated channel for the film on Comcast -- accessible with a click of the remote, and where another click would lead to a Fandango-branded theater coupon coming in the mail.

Still trying to come up with ways for the Kardashians or WWE muscle men to get involved, though.

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