Harkening back to yesteryear, this Sunday night when NBC airs National Treasure: Book of Secrets it will have a sole sponsor, Intuit’s Turbo Tax. All of the commercials will be for TurboTax, some will be regular spots, other spots form their own story with a tie-in to the movie as celebrities compete in a treasure hunt for charity.
I got a couple of e-mails dinging me for not posting about this. I agree it’s interesting to see this and at this time of year, definitely a well-timed gimmick for TurboTax. But, as one e-mailer wrote “…on the other hand, this is a movie that is several years old, has already run about 5,000 times on USA Network and isn’t likely to get many viewers.”
It wouldn’t be easy to do this with popular programming that would rate much higher though. Because of the way advertising is sold, Intuit couldn’t do this with without planning for it well in advance. It would have to get figured out before the advertising “Upfronts” in May and two words spring to mind: cost prohibitive.
It’s still interesting though, even if only as a trip down memory lane.
Here’s the original release from NBC:
|NBC UNIVERSAL JOINS WITH TURBOTAX TO UNVEIL ‘ALL STAR CELEBRITY TREASURE HUNT’ DURING FULL NIGHT OF PRIMETIME SPONSORSHIP ON JANUARY 30|
|Brooke Burns Hosts While Brandy Norwood, Lisa Rinna and Jeremy Roenick Lead Teams to Compete for Charity in a Mad Dash Across Los Angeles
Unique “Show-Within-a-Show” Will Debut During NBC’s Presentation of Film “National Treasure” — Viewers Can Log On to NBC.com for Two Chances to Win $25,000
Companies Reunite for Third Tax Season, Creating Custom Ad Campaign Spanning Multiple NBCU Networks and Digital Properties
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – January 28, 2011 – NBC Universal has joined with Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), makers of TurboTax tax software, to present the “All Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt,” a first-of-its-kind advertising and programming event airing in primetime on January 30. TurboTax will take over all national advertising time during NBC’s airing of “National Treasure” (8 to 11 p.m. ET/PT) to sponsor a unique “show-within-a-show.” This special event incorporates how TurboTax, the nation’s best-selling tax preparation software, provides easy, expert guidance to help people get their maximum refund.
The “All Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt” serves as the centerpiece of an extensive cross-platform ad campaign that will target the TurboTax consumer across multiple NBC Universal properties including network, cable, online and mobile. The campaign runs through April 18th.
Hosted by Brooke Burns (“Pepper Dennis”), “All Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt” pits three separate teams against one another in a challenging competition that requires speed, stamina and physical skill, in addition to good humor. The teams race to several iconic locations throughout Los Angeles with the help of GPS systems, where they search for clues, find hidden objects and perform stunts. The teams are led by award-winning recording artist and actress Brandy Norwood, actress Lisa Rinna (“Dancing with the Stars”), and Jeremy Roenick, former National Hockey League player and NBC sports analyst, who are all competing for the title of “champion” as well as the chance to win more than $50,000 for their designated charity.
The same way that the GPS system guides the “All Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt” teams to their destinations, TurboTax helps guide taxpayers to their own treasure by identifying all the deductions and credits to which they are entitled.
“Once again, TurboTax is innovating to set the brand apart and create preference, both in offline and online media,” said Seth Greenberg, Vice President Global Media and Digital Marketing for Intuit. “Working with NBC Universal, we’ve created something that has never been done by taking over an entire night of network commercial time to be able to convey just how easy TurboTax guides you to your maximum refund.”
Also synching with the theme of “expert guidance” is a tie-in with NBC.com’s fan affinity program “Fan It” that brings the onscreen action to viewers via multiple platforms. The on-air treasure hunt highlights various types of deductions through keywords that drive viewers online to a multiple choice quiz, giving them a chance to play along, earn points and win $25,000 and other prizes by logging on to http://www.nbc.com/turbotax/. Additionally, “All Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt” will be available for viewing at NBC.com through February 28 offering viewers another chance at $25,000 and other unique prizes.
Barbara Blangiardi, SVP Creative Partnerships & Innovation for NBC Universal, added, “As always, our goal is to create effective solutions for our advertisers that evolve the traditional media model. The ‘All-Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt’ is the latest innovation in what has been a three-year showcase partnership with TurboTax, integrating their brand strategies into entertaining content that engages their consumers and reaches them across the many platforms within the NBCU portfolio.”
Team Brandy includes recording artist Brandy Norwood, her brother, chart-topping recording artist Ray J Norwood, friend and comedienne Robin Thede, and celebrity athletic trainer Ryan Farhoudi. They are playing to benefit Artists for Peace and Justice (www.apjnow.org). Team Rinna includes actress Lisa Rinna, friend and financial manager Robin Fujimoto, music producer Jim Botko and real estate broker Patricia Gilbert. They are playing to benefit Project Angel Food (www.angelfood.org). Team Roenick includes former National Hockey League player and U.S.A. Hockey Hall of Famer Jeremy Roenick, along with his business manager Craig Conley, friend Saul Salama and fellow professional hockey player Derek Armstrong. They are playing to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org).
Custom Ad Campaign Mixes NBCU Talent and Programs with TurboTax
The “All Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt” is the latest innovation in a strategic partnership started by NBCU and Intuit in 2009. The treasure hunt serves as the centerpiece of an on air campaign that features nine different spots airing across seven NBCU properties. The 75-second ads tie a particular NBCU talent or show to the TurboTax theme of “expert guidance,” and air within the show they reference. Some spots feature talent directly from the various shows, while others use themes or characters to connect to the specific program.
The campaign also features a unique digital component that drives viewers online where they’re greeted by a live action video featuring the talent that appeared in the commercial. The digital activations tie thematically to their on-air counterparts, showcasing the TurboTax message of “expert guidance” on a variety of topics including fitness, humor, fashion and wedding planning.
The ads will air in multiple NBCU programs including NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” “Access Hollywood” and “Days of our Lives,” as well as sports programming and late night. Cable spots will air in Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters International,” Oxygen’s “sToribook Weddings” and on Bravo in various episodes of the “Real Housewives” franchise. They will also air on the Weather Channel.
“All Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt” was produced by ZOO Productions. For more information or to play along, go to http://NBC.com/TurboTax.
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About NBC Universal
NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.
About ZOO Productions
Since 1994, ZOO has established itself a leader in reality shows infused with comedy, heart and purpose. Projects created and produced by founders Barry Poznick & John Stevens (along with President Charles Steenveld and VP’s Rachel Brill and Richard Valenzuela) include: “ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER?” (emmy-nominated and broadcast in over 100 countries/produced with Mark Burnett), “JOAN & MELISSA: JOAN KNOWS BEST” WEtv , “FAMILY GAME NIGHT” (Season 2) Hasbro/Discovery’s Hub Network, “SOUTHERN FRIED STINGS” (season 3) truTV, “HOW’D YOU GET SO RICH? With Joan Rivers (season 2) TVLAND, “OVER THE LIMIT” (season 2) truTV , and “GIRLS BEHAVING BADLY” (syndicated in 50 countries). Previous series and specials include “MTV’s THE BLAME GAME” , “MTV’s THE MORNING AFTER”, “MTV’s THE MANDY MOORE SHOW”, “MTV’s SPRING BREAK”, “MTV’s SUMMER BEACH HOUSE”, “MTV’s SNOWED-IN’, “CMT’s REDNECK DREAMS” and “FASHION EMERGENCY: fake-overs” for STYLE.