OMD Exchange – Erin in the Big Apple – Part 2

Erin gives us the low-down in her second post about life in New York as part of the OMD Exchange program. You can read her first post here

This morning, instead of my usual bus ride downtown, I take the subway uptown to 47-50 Sts Rockefeller Center where the NBC Studios are located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. I’m on the look out for Liz Lemon or Jack Donaghy as I collect my guest pass and am hustled through the intense security screening (stricter than 195 Broadway!) Before ‘30 Rock’ there was ‘Saturday Night Live’ and today I’m attending the NBCUniversal Social TV Symposium in Studio 8H where SNL is filmed and broadcast live. Surrounded by cameras and TV ad sales execs, I listen to representatives from social media heroes Twitter and Facebook, as well as various other NBCU brands and research experts.

Talking about social TV in a real, live, functioning – and famous! – TV studio adds further excitement to the session, and things are kept light by the hilarious introductory music playing for each speaker as they get up for their five-minutes on stage. Beastie Boys ‘Intergalactic’ seems out of a place on a Tuesday morning in a room full of ‘suits’. The case studies were extremely interesting, but of course like at any of these media events, at times it feels like one big NBCU sales pitch. Over here the television industry is preparing for the upfront period – where all the big TV networks host a meeting to showcase their latest and greatest programs, aiming to secure marketers dollars before the season begins. Seeing the NBCU brands combine is certainly proof that social TV is having an impact on upfronts this year, a sure sign that the network is taking steps forward. The underlying theme today being it is definitely possible to integrate social TV with brands by creating content in partnership with them.

Agency Hill Holiday’s Mike Proulx and Stacey Shepatin – who literally wrote the book on Social TV, which we each received a copy of today – kick off the event with Linda Yaccarino, President of Cable Entertainment and Digital Advertising Sales for NBCU. Everyone is a president or vice president of something around here it seems. Then Twitter’s VP of Global Brand Strategy (see what I mean?), Joel Lunefeld takes to the stage. He says Twitter is a canvas for brands to participate in “must-tweet TV” like the Grammy Awards and Super Bowl, the latter of which saw an average of 12,000 tweets per second in 2012. Examples he presents include the Audi Super Bowl commercial’s use of #SoLongVampires to ignite a conversation after it aired, and @Chipotle for best use of creative during the Grammy’s with a commercial featuring a Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay that left many saying it was the best musical performance of the evening. Joel convincingly tells brands; “you’re not just creating spots for TV anymore, you’re creating them for conversation on Twitter too”. See both videos below:

Next to take to the stage is Facebook’s Head of Entertainment Strategy and former CNN exec, Kay Madati, who jokes about how he is speaking right after Twitter. He explains that what Facebook are doing with social TV is “complementary” and stresses that the “before and after” is “where you make the 30 second spot matter more”. Among other things he talks about how he learned from a friend at MTV that “social deserves its own programming strategy” and that friend-to-friend discovery drives more value than your average promotional campaign. He finishes by driving home that whether from brands or networks, “content is still KING.”

Around lunch the event wraps up so I pick up my copy of Mike and Stacey’s Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media, and Mobile from a real life NBC page (like Kenneth Parcell in 30 Rock!) and say farewell to SNL’s famous studio. It’s time to get back on the subway downtown to OMD HQ.

If anyone wants to hear more about any of the other speakers please feel free to ‘reach out’ as they say over here!

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