To plug its coverage of the upcoming Winter Olympics, NBC is embedding an unusual two-and-a-half-minute promo within Monday's episode of hit drama "Las Vegas." The spot, which itself is being
sponsored by Chevrolet, is being billed as a mini movie. To prove it, NBC will take it to the Big Screen. Beginning Friday, the spot will also appear on 10,000 movie screens in a deal that includes
product placement in both the show and the promo. The artifice works like this: The episode's story line features real-life Olympic medalists signing autographs at the show's Vegas casino;
nearby, three passionate fans are star struck. Soon after, the mini-movie takes off. The lucky fans are whisked to Torino, Italy--site of the Winter Games--where they're joined by a slew of American
Olympians, including U.S. Open snowboarding champion Gretchen Bleiler and moguls dynamo Toby Dawson. (Early in the show, the fans are seen arriving at the casino in Chevy vehicles, and in Torino, the
Olympians are traveling in Chevy SUVs.)
After the promo airs on "Vegas," it will run before-the-show (Jan. 13-Feb. 9) on over 10,000 movie screens nationwide under a deal NBC and Chevy have
with National CineMedia. The Torino Opening Ceremonies start a day after the theater run.
NBC and Chevrolet shared production costs on the promo. Chevrolet is also a major sponsor of NBC's Torino
NBC ran a similar spot on movie screens to promote its 2004 Athens Olympics, but didn't meld that content into a prime-time show.
The promo was created by The NBC Agency, the
network's in-house ad shop. A 60-second version will air on the network as a standard promo leading up to the Games. And a "making-of" piece will appear as a TiVo showcase and on NBC and Chevrolet Web