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Morning-Show Spin: ABC Uses Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ To Counter NBC’s ‘Rise To Shine’

Behind the smiling faces on the nation’s two most popular morning shows lurks something slightly more sinister: Marketing campaigns designed to make viewers consider one over the other.

To celebrate March 20th’ s status as “International Happiness Day” (who knew?), ABC this morning unveiled a new video designed to celebrate – and call attention to – “Good Morning America,” the sunnyside program that upset NBC’s “Today” in 2012 to rank as the nation’s most-watched morning show. In the video, a host of Disney-backed anchors from ABC News, Fusion and ESPN cavort to the strains of Pharrell Williams’ new hit “Happy,” along with stars and personalities from ABC Daytime and ABC’s prime-time schedule.

The ABC effort comes after NBC in January launched a promotional salvo for “Today’ with the slogan “Rise To Shine.” At different times this year, NBCUniversal will promote “Today” across many of its media properties.

TV executives seem to have a fondness for “Happy.” At a recent upfront presentation held by The Weather Channel, the single was played at nearly every break in the action. The tune surfaced again yesterday at an upfront press event held for National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild. Will the networks glom on to some other audio delight before too long?

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