Living the NBCU “Experience”
Instead of a big, crazy upfront presentation at Radio City, NBC Universal this year invited advertisers and media to its Experience at 30 Rockefeller Center. Here’s a guided tour:
First off, you’re greeted by a TV screen featuring clips from NBC stars like Tina Fey and Brian Williams, who make some jokes and ham it up and basically tell you to move along, which you were really going to do anyway since you’re just standing there in the hallway.
There really isn’t a lot to see in the first few rooms (promotional videos, etc) except that walking around are a bunch of people dressed in all black with, if you can picture it, video screens on their chests.
The screens had games that you could play; one told you what character you’d be in “The Office,” and another asked you some trivia questions (I approached it like school, took some wild guesses and got two out of three).
Things soon picked up. First a screening room featuring trailers of some of the upcoming releases like “Momma Mia” and “The Incredible Hulk,” then a “Deal or No Deal” exhibit featuring the gameshow’s models walking about in sequined red dresses.
And later there was KITT, the car from Knight Rider; a couple huge American Gladiators doing battle with one of those stuffed medieval looking weapons; a mock voting booth (the computer was on the blink when I walked past, so nobody was actually casting a vote); dozens of TVs showing scenes from the Olympics; a Champagne bar.
Plus, there were a ton of giveaways, which usually please a crowd. Here’s what was pushed at me: USA Network M&Ms; a “Today” earth-friendly bag; a picture between two mummies (they don’t look very frightening, I look sort of confused); a little taster of duck and mushroom from the “Top Chef” booth; a “Friday Night Lights” button; a golf ball; a chocolate bar, and a football signed by Tiki Barber, John Madden, Cris Collingsworth, Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, and Al Michaels.
I also got a picture with Janice Dickinson, who was there promoting her show on Oxygen and inviting all comers to jump up on the stage with her and snap a photo. So I did. Why not?
Unfortunately, the picture didn’t take the first time, so I had to get back up on Ms. Dickinson’s stage for another attempt. She was very kind about it (“Oh, I screwed it up on purpose, so you’d come back,” she joked) though the scene was still a little awkward and I found myself wishing that I’d just skipped that particular stop.
But none of that — the entertainment, the giveaways, the shift away from the traditional upfront — means much in the end. What counts is not whether advertisers enjoyed the NBC Universal Experience, but whether they’ll hand over the big bucks for commercial deals.
(Photo of Rockefeller Center: Reuters)