The Green Branding of a Mainstream TV Network

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Two articles this week deal with NBC's concerted efforts to brand itself the green television network.  The first, Can NBC Brand itself as the Green Network?:

  • NBC claims 82% recognition as green network among viewers.
  • The article questions whether or not there is any true benefit to NBC of being identified as green (other than the $2 million saved the past year as a result of env. initiatives).

Sustainable Life Media advances a definite benefit to the network: NBC Green Week Delivers Attractive Audiences to Advertisers.

  • Advertisers are eager to engage environmentally-minded consumers according to NBC.

It will be interesting to see whether the network and advertisers aim their marketing to mainstream consumers (effectively or not) and try to convince them to go green, or whether they end up talking only to those consumers who are already on the green bandwagon thereby limiting their impact and reach.

Both articles are included below:

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Can NBC Brand itself as the Green Network?

Posted April 1, 2009

By Ariel Schwartz, Fast Company 

Would you watch a TV network just because it is somehow "greener"
than the others? NBC Universal is betting on it. The company claims
that polls show that its reputation as a green network is recognized
among 82% of viewers. While this reputation hasn't translated into high
ratings, NBC believes that advertisers are attracted to the idea of
reaching out to environmentally-minded consumers.

NBC's 2009 Green is Universal campaign will be marked with the
tagline "Green Lives Here". The network will use variations on the
tagline like "Green Laughs Here" and "Green Shops Here" depending on
which show or ad is running. 

The company has touted its environmental awareness since 2007, when it launched the first Green is Universal week.  30 Rock's
well-received "Greenzo" episode both played into Green is Universal
week and made fun of it at the same time, while green-themed shows and
PSAs were sprinkled throughout the network's schedule. Since then, NBC
has purchased carbon offset credits in bulk and launched a green-themed
section of its Web site. The company also tries to make its live events
as sustainable as possible, according to Lauren Zalaznick, Chair of NBC
Universal's Green Council and President of the Bravo Network. 

There's a side benefit to NBC's initiatives: they have saved the company $2 million over the past year.

But unless NBC starts running green-themed programming, it will
never be able to entirely win over the environmental crowd. If you like
Lost and Grey's Anatomy better than 30 Rock and The Office, you're probably going to watch ABC–even if NBC brands itself to death with green taglines.

As we pointed out in a 2008 Fast Company article about American Apparel,
most people say that they care about the environment, but few follow up
by buying eco-friendly products, or in this case, watching eco-friendly
TV. And for those viewers who don't care so much if their TV-watching
habits are offset by carbon credits, NBC's emphasis on green could even
be alienating. All of this makes NBC's play for the green market seem
slightly unwise, as it could end up annoying loyal viewers without
attracting new eyeballs. We'll find out for sure, though, in the
Nielsen ratings. 

NBC Green Week Delivers Attractive Audiences to Advertisers

Posted April 1, 2009

By Sustainable Life Media 

NBC Universal's Green Week, set to kick off later this month, is
proving a bigger-than-ever draw for advertisers as they look to connect
with increasingly recession-weary consumers, MediaPost reports.

With consumer spending on the downswing, NBC Universal (NBCU) is
seeing "strong demand from advertisers that wish to partner with us to
reach…green-minded consumers," according to Lauren Zalaznick,
president of NBCU's women and lifestyle entertainment networks.

Nearly three-quarters of consumers say green is good for the
economy, six in ten consumers think "buying green can help consumers
save money in the long run," according to a recent NBCU poll.

"Marketers remain focused on aligning their brands with socially
responsible programming," Zalaznick says, "and manufacturers are
rolling out green product lines."

Green Week will kick off April 19, packing more than 150 hours of
green-themed programming into 40 NBCU broadcast and online outlets. The
annual programming blitz, launched in 2007, is part of NBCU's ongoing "Green Is Universal" initiative to make its operations more sustainable.

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