With a new entertainment streaming service that’s lighting up TVs and phones in the U.S., Subaru of America has tapped into a fresh advertising medium to stay on consumers’ minds.
Peacock, NBCUniversal’s entry into streaming services, launched to certain Comcast subscribers April 15 and is expected to go nationwide July 15. Its content includes TV shows, movies, live sports and other NBC programming.
Peacock joins a growing group of streaming services including established players such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video as well as newcomers such as Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and the soon-to-launch HBO Max.
Subaru is the lone automaker among Peacock’s 10 sponsors. The others are Capital One, L’Oreal USA, Molson Coors, Verizon, Apartments.com, State Farm, Target, Unilever and Eli Lilly.
Peacock is offered with three subscription options: a free level that has ads; a $4.99-per-month premium level that has ads; and a $9.99 ad-free level. The two ad-supported levels will have five minutes of advertising or less each hour, according to Peacock.
For Subaru, with a marketing identity that capitalizes on its customers’ interpersonal relations, their dogs and their love of the outdoors, advertising on Peacock represents a new messaging forum.
“We think it gives us an advantage, at least in the launch window, of owning the [viewing] experience from an automotive perspective,” Jack Kelly, Subaru of America’s national integrated media manager, told Automotive News. “Getting our message out there without competitors in the same space was a big win for us.”
He declined to comment on the cost of the Peacock deal. But according to AdAge, an affiliate of Automotive News, a Peacock sponsorship costs advertisers $15 million to $25 million.
Kelly said Subaru and the other Peacock sponsors will be on an equitable rotation of ad time.
“Streaming is such a big part of the way people are viewing TV and consuming content,” he said. “There’s a real opportunity there. There are some instances where we can’t advertise on streaming services. This happens to be one where we can.”
Alan Bethke, Subaru of America’s senior vice president of marketing, said the brand has a long history with NBC and called the Peacock sponsorship a smart evolution for the automaker.
“It’s another example of bringing content in a way that consumers now want to consume content,” Bethke said. “Having Subaru be a part of that, in a good and unique way in the beginning, from a partner that we have a long history with, makes a lot of sense.”
Kelly noted that Subaru advertised on Hulu in the past, which gave the automaker experience with a streaming service and short, 15-second ads.
“In this instance, we’re taking that to the next level and trying to do some different style ads and see how they’re performing,” Kelly said.
As a launch sponsor, Subaru and the other nine companies will be able to work with NBCUniversal to creatively shape their ad experiences. That could result in ads of different lengths and an opportunity to see how new ad formats measure against more traditional ones.
As one example, Kelly pointed to pause ads. As the name implies, when a viewer pauses a program, a message from an advertiser is displayed.
“We’re working pretty closely with the NBCU team to see what’s possible,” he said.
More traditional 15- or 30-second ads will still be part of the mix.
Peacock is also allowing advertisers to be flexible in how they use their messages.
“If we want to go after auto shoppers, or in-market auto shoppers, versus someone who might be interested in the Subaru brand, we can tailor the messaging,” Kelly said.
Subaru can also choose its programming positioning. It can move its ads away from content it doesn’t want to be associated with — programming it deems too violent, for example — in the course of getting its message out.