NBCU Embraces 'That Metaverse Thing,' Touts It As A Commercial Innovation

Just weeks after ad chief Linda Yaccarino dismissively joked about “that metaverse thing,” NBCUniversal this morning unveiled a slate of “commercial innovations” including some metaverse things.

“The company is opening up new opportunities for marketers to step into the metaverse,” NBCU announced this morning, unveiling a slate of new-and-improved advertising innovations for 2022-23.

The announcement, and an accompanying blog post, which also emphasize “immersive experiences for consumers and marketers,” plug the metaverse nine times, as well as allude to other Web3 developments -- including blockchain and cryptocurrency – as “incredible opportunities for advertisers that, when done well bring consumers closer to the content they love, with the brand as the bridge.”



“We’ve already done this with innovations like the Bravo Bazaar, which lets viewers shop in the metaverse within show-themed rooms,” Global CMO of NBCU Advertising & Partnerships Josh Feldman writes in a co-authored blog post, adding, “At Coachella, we worked with Absolut to bring one of E!'s favorite hosts into Absolutland, a metaverse experience where festival goers can meet and bond over their shared love of festival culture through virtual drinks, experiences and more. And now, with our AR Portal, we’re bringing even more of our programming universe into the metaverse – whether we’re giving viewers a deeper look into what’s cooking in the Top Chef kitchen, or an exclusive 360-degree view of the Thanksgiving Day parade and much more.”

Neither the release or the blog post mention NFTs, but it’s clear that NBCU has seen the light on the promises of Web3 as quickly accelerating and touts among the most important developments in its fifth annual slate of ad innovations, which this year includes:

  • Attention Lab blends the art and science of brand creative with rigorous attention metrics testing, including eye tracking that illuminates physical dips and spikes in consumer attention. With deep insight into viewers’ attention, and the impact of advertiser creative, marketers can adjust their messages to ensure maximum viewer attention, brand affinity, and emotional connection.

  • Retro Ads lean into the engaging impact of nostalgia with custom creative designed specifically to reflect a particular era that contextually aligns with the time period of the show.

  • AR Portal brings fans beyond the limits of the television screen and uses NBCU's AR technology to provide a pathway into the metaverse. This mobile-led initiative allows fans to experience the content they love in an immersive environment, and gives brands a new opportunity to connect with audiences.

  • Picture-in-Picture Expanded Storytelling extends audiences’ favorite programming with new interactive content experiences that take place in a branded digital or social environment. Leveraging NBCU QR codes to initiate this second-screen experience, fans can get more of the content they love, that also aligns with advertisers’ messages.

  • The Shop Drop leverages NBCU’s local-to-global scale to create a symphony of commerce-enabled activations for a brand’s upcoming product launch. By combining the reach of NBCUniversal’s One Platform Commerce and the tentpole moments that consumers crave, Shop Drop drives marquee attention for brands, while drumming up engaging shoppable opportunities for consumers to transact at the point of inspiration.

  • Double Box Creative in Context leverages Contextual Intelligence to bring a brand’s custom spot to life alongside highly relevant IP. Taking place in a double box format that appears next to programming, viewers will experience highly relevant and engaging advertising alongside their favorite content, driving deep relevance for the brand’s message.

  • NBCU Social Studio puts a brand front and center in the social sphere during the watercooler pop culture moments and trending conversations that engage and excite consumers. Tapping into the scale of One Platform’s social channels, and combining NBCUniversal’s premium content, brands can align themselves to the hottest topics of the day in natural, authentic ways.

  • Interactive Countdown Clock aligns marketers with the hype and excitement of a new program premiere or launch. From the red carpet to the sports arena, the Bravosphere and more, advertisers can give fans waiting on the edge of their seats more of the content they crave in an interactive experience unlocked by NBCU QR codes. 

Sequential Storytelling, originally unveiled at One22, leverages a specific, targeted audience segment built with NBCUnified first-party data to tell a brand’s story over time, and take audiences on a journey through the funnel. With Sequential Storytelling, marketers can pique consumers’ interest on one channel, deepen their engagement in a second ad to drive consideration, and eventually inspire them to purchase in a final, commerce-enabled spot. 

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