Every year, I look forward to the holiday season. But this year feels extra special. Growing up with seven siblings in a blended family, I have distinct warm memories of matching pajamas, homemade confetti and family rituals clamoring around the television to watch every holiday special – starting with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade all the way through to the New Year’s Eve ball drop. Now, with sons of my own, we continue to build our own holiday rituals and how we can contribute to our own communities.
The past twenty months have taught us just how important it is to be together and to be grateful. It is heartening to see friends and loved ones across the country reunite, after the pandemic kept so many families and communities apart in 2020. It is also a time to give back to those in need and find new ways to honor the reason behind the season.
At NBCUniversal, we couldn’t be more excited to uplift, support, and empower the communities we serve, while creating opportunities for brands to do the same. As one of the biggest media companies in the world, we believe we have a deep and abiding responsibility to use One Platform for good. So together, with our partners, we’re leading with purpose and giving back this holiday season, and all year long.
Programming that Uplifts Viewers
Every family has its own traditions, and one of the most time-honored is gathering around the TV to watch holiday specials. And so, with the help of our marketing partners, we’re giving viewers an exciting and festive slate of programming.
One of our many specials is the family-friendly musical event of the year—Annie LIVE!. This special broadcast, which airs tomorrow night, not only delivers magical on-stage moments, but also inspiring ad content that channels the spirit of Annie by tapping into the show’s legendary, beloved music and themes within the campaigns themselves for an enhanced viewing experience. Additionally, as part of this larger holiday partnership with Fisher-Price, Walmart, and Wendy’s, we are able to both execute and spotlight initiatives that serve communities in need. Wendy’s supports finding forever families for children in foster care with in-restaurant fundraising programs that benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. While Fisher-Price will emphasize the importance of play and make a donation to TODAY’s national toy drive. Plus, Walmart is also joining one of NBCU’s larger symphony initiatives to give back in an even bigger way. And that’s just the beginning.
On December 1st, Wayfair will make a generous contribution to an organization supporting Dr. Giles work during Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around. And, on December 16th, for the second year in a row, we’ll air the L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth special – which spotlights extraordinary women who are working to make their communities more compassionate, equitable, and safe.
Initiatives that Support Communities & Educate the Public
Aside from programming, we’re also using One Platform’s incredible scale and versatility to launch purpose-driven initiatives that call attention to issues that impact our viewers’ everyday lives.
For our Health is Universal initiative, we set out to spotlight a vital, but often-overlooked group: caregivers. Together with Mayo Clinic, we’ve leveraged our NBCUniversal portfolio to increase awareness for every family caregiver in America. From a special in-show surprise moment on The Kelly Clarkson Show to creating a new Caregivers Resource Guide with The NBC News Brand Studio, we’re extending our gratitude across every screen.
Another important, and related, theme of the holiday season is, of course, family. That’s why we have once again leveraged Symphony—or in other words, every single marketing lever we have—to launch our Family is Universal campaign.
Together, with support from Walmart, Progressive, and Xfinity, as well as with iconic NBC talent including, This Is Us’ Susan Kelechi Watson, we’re creating content that celebrates family, and raises money for Feeding America. As part of Walmart’s Family is Universal campaign and their commitment to doing good, Walmart is giving back in big ways: building on their years-long support for Feeding America and donating thousands of turkeys to foodbanks across the country.
Within our own company, too, we’re giving back. This season, we’re partnering with Givsly to make $100 donations on behalf of our clients to organizations that support underserved and vulnerable communities of their choice. We’re also continuing to support the military community through campaigns that highlight the importance of hiring Veterans.
Messages that Empower Audiences
While there’s nothing like giving thanks and giving back during the holiday season, to truly make an impact, companies have to live their values all year long. And at NBCU, one of our most deeply held values is inclusion.
That’s why we’re creating opportunities for ourselves and our partners to amplify messages that empower diverse audiences. As part of this effort, we created an Advertising & Partnerships’ Empowerment & Inclusion Council that does just that – an open forum and collaborative space for our leading NBCU ad sales teams to connect with NBCUniversal’s comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to look around every corner for our clients and partners and present opportunities. Since then, the council has helped connect brands to incredible projects from ad spots for Women’s History Month to a three-part series by BIPOC filmmakers to our first ever bilingual, cross-platform campaign for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Finally, we’re making sure brands understand how critical it is to feature diverse voices and backgrounds. With the help of our partners at MAGNA and Identity, we shared new research earlier this year on today’s polycultural consumers and how advertisers can better speak to multicultural audiences.
Cheers to 2021 And Beyond
From beginning to end, 2021 was a year of challenges and triumphs, and we enjoyed every opportunity to celebrate with, and give back to, the families and communities that make us who we are.
As we look ahead to next year, the NBCU Advertising & Partnerships team is humbled to continue putting our incredible platform to work in the name of purpose for each one of our partners and viewers.