Network's old icon is new again

NBC is about to get a little “more colorful.”

As part of a major branding makeover, the Peacock will unveil a new slogan for the net, as well as a new on-air look, on Sept. 14 — the night that “The Jay Leno Show” debuts.

The tagline “more colorful” will begin popping up in NBC promos at that time as text onscreen — but never actually voiced on-air.

The phrase is a conscious throwback to both the net’s famous colorful peacock icon, as well as the announcement regularly heard on the net at the dawn of color TV: “The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC.”

“Sometimes the most powerful ideas are the ones staring at you in the face,” said NBC Entertainment marketing prexy Adam Stotsky. “The NBC peacock is 53 years old but has incredible heritage and brand equity. We’ve seen research that suggests an incredible unaided awareness that the icon means NBC.”

NBC will introduce “more colorful” to promos and campaigns supporting Peacock programming rather than introducing spots that just focus on the network.

“Color,” Stotsky added, “is also what we strive to do in our programming.”

The on-air makeover comes as NBC’s programming and marketing teams pore over data from an internal study over what the Peacock brand is and what it should be.

“Our brand is significantly defined by the shows we put on,” said NBC Universal TV Group chief marketing officer John Miller. “Part of that effort we went through… was the idea of our internal brand guidelines, to recapture the heritage of NBC.”

NBC began the exercise late last year, tapping global marketing firm Naked Communications to help reposition the net’s once-storied brand.

The Peacock’s Nielsen woes, coupled with its unprecedented decision to move Jay Leno into the 10 p.m. slot five nights a week this fall, gave the execs reason to start thinking how to reposition the network.

“NBC has admittedly not been as strong over the last five years,” Miller said. “But the things that never wavered were those icons and people’s memories of NBC… Something that connects and is a part of our legacy is a natural. Our goal now is to make sure we have shows that people will want to watch.”

Execs declined to elaborate on the brand study’s internal findings and how the net’s programming team may adjust their thinking on what NBC should be developing.

“We need to prove our chops first,” Miller said.

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