Last night, NBC premiered a two-and-a-half minute cross-promotion aligning their Universal Studios’ upcoming release of “Mummy 3” with their coverage of the 2008 Olympics in China.
I expect that there will be a backlash from the media and sports communities, as this TV commercial is insulting to Olympic athletes and viewers alike. If you haven’t seen this commercial, you probably won’t understand the vitriol to follow.
NBC may as well have lined up every single 2008 Olympic athlete and systematically spat in their faces. These athletes didn’t ask to be trivialized as poster children to recoup loss on a terrible movie with which they have nothing to do. The ad strips Olympic athletes of their dignity.
From this TV ad, I remember a tasteless quick-cut from a CGI battle scene into stock footage of an actual Olympic boxing match. I also remember a clip of Brendan Frasier shouting something like, “We’re the good guys!” cutting to stock footage of an American runner winning a race.
From a business perspective, this isn’t rocket science and it makes sense. Universal Studios spent a ton of money making “Mummy 3” but it’s going to be a huge flop if it doesn’t get some serious help. So, NBC as the parent company of Universal Studios decides to do some damage control. They decide to take an angle which apparently justifies the aligning of “Mummy” with the 2008 Olympics: They are both filmed in China… that’s it. That is NBC’s angle.
As tasteless as it may be, the business logic behind it makes sense, which makes it that much more tasteless. This is NBC telling us, the American public, just how stupid they think we are:
Barbara Blangiardi, SVP of Strategic Marketing and Content Innovation for NBC, has this to say:
“The shared location of China represented the opportunity to do something special together.”
Wow. Let’s get this straight: NBC overtly trivializes the Olympics, the Olympic athletes and the viewers of the Olympics on the large scale to recoup a few dollars on a bad movie… and they think we’re stupid enough to not notice. The sad thing is that most people really are that stupid. Are you one of them?
Who’s the bad guy, now?
[UPDATE:] This TV spot is just the beginning of NBC’s roll-out marketing campaign aligning “Mummy 3” with The 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. This ad will be featured in movie theatres, theme parks, airlines and digital displays in 4,700 NYC taxi cabs (a full-third of the NYC taxi fleet)… the list goes on. My prediction is that the most impression intensive period of this campaign will take place during NBC’s coverage of the latter portion of the Olympic trials and the beginning of the 2008 Olympic Games
[SIDENOTE:] I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this ad premiered during NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”, the one program on television which arguably retains the stupidest audience in the country. As evidence, some focus-group preferred the title “America’s Got Talent” over “America Has Talent”, the latter of which, anyone who is not retarded would prefer. Also, does anyone else find it strange that two out of the three judges on “America’s Got Talent” are British? I digress.
New readers: Your opinion is welcomed in the comments.