NBCU Shorts: Branding in Six Minutes

NBC Universal has wrangled millions of viewers into watching long commercials

Ever watch a six-minute commercial? By choice? Neither have we. And yet, through its branded digital shorts, NBC Universal has wrangled millions of people into doing exactly that.

Viewers catch NBCU’s brand-centric digital programming on Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, NBC’s Web properties, and TV on demand. What’s more, it’s offering up demographic data and taking surveys that show users are nearly seven times as likely to recall a brand after watching an NBC-produced short than any other kind of digital ad experience, the Insight Express-run surveys show.

NBCU, which has been producing digital shorts–which have a multimillion dollar price tag–since 2009, has distributed videos for 11 brands ranging from Cisco and Microsoft to Hidden Valley salad dressing and Nestea. Today, the company announced a third season pickup of In Gayle We Trust, an American Family Insurance-sponsored series about a fictional insurance agent played by Elisa Donovan.

The show’s first two seasons garnered 24 million views, with completion rates of around 80 percent, says Cameron Death, head of NBC Universal Digital Studio.

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