NBCU, Liberty Mutual form partnership


Branded entertainment is coming back big: As NBC shifts to a 52-week schedule this upfront, details were presented yesterday to advertisers and agencies from senior execs at their 2008-2009 programming unveiling (see related story) by Ben Silverman, co-chairman at the NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios and Michael Pilot, president for sales and marketing at NBCU, on how they are seeking to make advertisers into long-term partners rather than just sell them 30-second spots.

The prime example involves NBCU and Liberty Mutual’s significant cross-platform marketing and programming partnership that will deliver NBC’s two-hour movie/back-door pilot "Kings," as well as an additional original movie to air on NBC and USA Network during the 2008-09 season. The movies are part of a broader Liberty Mutual marketing campaign tied to the theme of personal responsibility that will span multiple NBCU properties.

The strategic partnership with "Kings" is based on NBC Universal’s and Liberty Mutual’s common desire to promote The Responsibility Project, a multi-faceted, branded-entertainment initiative launched by Liberty Mutual.

It will also include web sites like nbc.com; hulu.com, the video Web site that is a joint venture between NBC and the Fox Broadcasting unit of the News Corporation; and a Liberty Mutual site (responsibilityproject.com).

"Kings" — which centers on a brave young soldier who rescues a king’s son from enemy territory and sets events in motion that will finally bring peace to a country—resonates with the theme of the initiative. The responsibility message will also be marketed in conjunction with a broader campaign spanning other NBC Universal properties, including coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2008 national elections as well as the company’s various digital assets. The partnership also includes significant outside promotion for both movies. Through The Responsibility Project, Liberty Mutual uses independently produced short films, online content and with the addition of the NBC partnership, television programming, as catalysts for examining the decisions that confront people trying to "do the right thing."

"This is a great example of what can be accomplished when we work with a client earlier in the creative process to develop a strong understanding of their marketing objectives and match them with the right creative opportunities," said Pilot.

Each movie also will be promoted and linked to The Responsibility Project Web site responsibilityproject.com, which features independently produced film shorts, discussion guides, interviews, articles and blog postings tied to the central theme of personal responsibility.

The concept for The Responsibility Project is rooted in Liberty Mutual’s television commercials that feature the tagline, "Responsibility. What’s Your Policy?" The ads feature individuals acting responsibly in small ways and promote Liberty Mutual’s approach to business and customers.