Peacock Launch Sponsors Look to Win Over Office Superfans

By | December 30, 2020

NBCUniversal’s hit comedy The Office is leaving Netflix and arriving on streamer Peacock on Jan. 1—and the broadcaster and its advertising partners are pulling out all the stops to woo superfans with Office-styled ads and trivia.

The first two seasons of the beloved show will become available for ad-supported viewing through Peacock’s free tier on Friday. The mockumentary’s remaining seven seasons will be accessible behind a $4.99 ad-supported tier. Ad breaks throughout the show’s playback will feature Office-inspired advertising from launch sponsors Unilever and State Farm.

Thirty-second spots will mimic The Office’s tongue-in-cheek humor and production quality, complete with quick zooms and confessionals exploring new characters’ home-office experiences. In one ad for State Farm, a home-renovation project goes terribly wrong; in another for Axe body spray, the main character of the spot must grapple with a disgruntled younger-sister-turned-coworker.

“State Farm is also running “pause ads,” which feature messaging when a viewer freezes the content, that include Office-specific trivia about the show that is designed to engage viewers about their knowledge of the various misadventures throughout the series. Viewers who choose to binge-watch may be rewarded with fewer ads by sponsors if they seek out popular story arcs, such as the one in which Jim and Pam’s romance blossom

It’ll be the first time that The Office, which ran on NBC from 2005 through 2013, will stream with advertising. The sitcom was licensed to run on ad-free Netflix for years, where it consistently ranked among the most-watched shows on the streaming service. After NBCUniversal bought the rights to the sitcom for a reported $500 million in 2019, the broadcaster announced this month that it would bulk up the series with new footage. Those extended cuts and deleted scenes begin with the third season, which will remain behind the Peacock paywall.   

The custom ads that will accompany the ad-supported Office viewing experience are part of NBCUniversal’s cross-promotional Symphony platform. Symphony is intended to help further boost the sitcom’s rerun success and help drive even more awareness about Peacock across all of the company’s marketing channels. The custom Confessions from the Home Office creative for Unilever and State Farm will be featured on Peacock’s trending section in order to drive people to the Office viewing hub on the platform, while also elevating the platform’s launch advertisers; the efforts will also appear on linear and on digital.

“Bringing The Office to Peacock allows us to bring in a whole new set of consumers,” said Laura Molen, NBCUniversal’s president of ad sales and partnerships. “This is really designed to embrace Office superfans and provide us with ads that capture the spirit of the home office.”

Building the future of streaming advertising

It’s the first time Peacock has extended the show’s IP to advertisers for use in their marketing. To make it happen, NBCUniversal enlisted the help of an Office expert. The ads were directed by Paul Lieberstein, who executive produced and wrote The Office and served as a showrunner during the show’s fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth seasons. The spots were produced by Independent Media and made in partnership with NBCUniversal’s Creative Partnerships team.

“It was a blast revisiting The Office’s take on the mockumentary—it’s such a specific style, the skill set to make it was so unique, and it felt great to be able to put it to use again,” Lieberstein said. “I hope these spots evoke The Office for viewers, make them excited for it, and make them nostalgic about viewing it again on Peacock, part of the NBC family where it first aired.”