NBC’s revival of Will & Grace won’t air until next season, but the cast has already reunited for NBCUniversal’s upfront campaign, which kicks off Thursday. For the first time, the company’s annual campaign will include TV spots along with its usual digital and out of home elements.
NBC announced in January that it was reviving Will & Grace for a 10-episode limited run, which will air next season. But the sitcom’s four stars—Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally—assembled early for the upfront brand spots, which include talent from NBCUniversal’s entire portfolio.
The four linear spots, which range from 15 to 60 seconds, will air on most of NBCUniversal’s networks: NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBCSN, Oxygen, Syfy, Telemundo and USA Network. Other elements will appear on the company’s digital sites and the platforms of partners like BuzzFeed, Snapchat, Vox Media and Apple News. All of the spots will highlight its upfront message: “unequaled.”
This campaign is part of NBCUniversal’s Symphony strategy, which leverages the company’s entire portfolio to drive awareness and engagement. It will also utilize the data capabilities of NBCUniversal’s Audience Studio, to which the company has committed $1 billion in data-based advertising this year.
“For this year’s upfront messaging, we’re going beyond the traditional media buy and taking advantage of our own assets because we know there’s no better way to scale a marketing campaign across platforms and target the audiences we need to reach than with what’s right within our own portfolio,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships for NBCUniversal, in a statement.
The spots, which were produced by NBCUniversal’s Content Innovation Agency, feature NBCUniversal talent from Today (Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie), This Is Us (Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley), Mr. Robot (Rami Malek and Christian Slater), Watch What Happens Live (Andy Cohen), Keeping Up with the Kardashians (Kim Kardashian), Morning Joe (Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski), NBC Nightly News (Lester Holt), The Royals (Elizabeth Hurley), Saturday Night Live (Colin Jost and Michael Che) and E! News (Ryan Seacrest), among other shows.
Some of the spots also highlight NBCU’s big sports trifecta in 2018: Super Bowl Bowl LII, the Winter Olympics and the World Cup, which will air on Telemundo. Dan Lovinger, evp ad sales, NBC Sports Group, said last week that he is selling inventory “together and separately” across 2018’s three big sporting events. “If they can afford it, the one-two combination of the Super Bowl and four days later the Olympics is pretty unbeatable,” he said.