- NBCUniversal and Verizon are adding new tech tricks to the live stream of this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, reported Adweek. Those include placing a traveling camera on the lead float and integrating augmented reality (AR) Easter eggs into the live stream that viewers can interact with to access fun facts and redeem Black Friday offers from Verizon.
- The telecom is also producing a 60-second spot during the broadcast to honor first responders and will sponsor a picture-in-picture activation where ads run alongside live parade footage during select ad pods. NBCU has used the picture-in-picture ads in the past, Adweek said, such as during "Hairspray Live!" last December, on "The Voice" and on USA's WWE programming.
- NBC said 45.3 million viewers watched some of the 2016 parade telecast, translating to around $41.8 million in ad revenue, according to Kantar Media data cited by Adweek. This year's live stream will be promoted by NBCUniversal's digital partners, including BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Apple News. Ad units will run across NBCUniversal and Vox Media's cross-platform digital ad inventory tool Concert.
While the Thanksgiving Day Parade remains a powerful ratings draw in an otherwise struggling TV landscape, the consistent introduction of new technologies, including AR for this Thursday's broadcast, point to how networks and marketers alike are thinking differently about how to engage viewers around these types of events.
AR has had a blockbuster year in 2017 with new development kits from major players like Facebook, Apple and Google, and the Easter eggs activation for the live stream shows what a powerful connecter the technology can be between devices, with users using their mobile phone camera to access deals hidden in the broadcast.
This application of AR should drive engagement, rewarding the viewer for keeping their eyeballs glued to the screen. For a brand with a heavy brick-and-mortar presence like Verizon, the activation doubles as an innovative way to stoke excitement around the key Black Friday deals day and potentially drive foot traffic from those looking to redeem their rewards.
Last year marked the first time the Thanksgiving Day Parade was live streamed and available to view on anything other than a linear TV set since its initial broadcast in 1952. This year, Verizon is again producing a 360-degree experience to give those tuning in a more immersive perspective on what's happening.