×

NBC Bets on Side Dishes to Lure Viewers to Thanksgiving Football

NBC Sports is serving up a few days of Thanksgiving accompaniments in hopes of driving Turkey Day viewers to the main dish.

In a bid to highlight its Thanksgiving-night broadcast of a match-up between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons, NBC Sports will stuff its media channels with a clever promotion about the holiday’s many side dishes. Football fans who follow NBC Sports social-media channels will likely see some a poll asking them to choose their favorite Thanksgiving add-ons as an incentive to tune in to what the network is now calling its “Side Dish Bowl.” They will also see teams with uniforms devoted to ‘cranberry sauces,’ stuffing,’ ‘potatoes,’ and, not to be ignored, ‘green bean casserole.’

“We were thinking, ‘What can we do to get into the conversation during the day to help differentiate our game that night?’” says Lyndsay Signor, vice president of consumer engagement at NBC Sports, in an interview. “We really wanted to get people excited and to stand out in a very crowded space.”

NBC has reason to trumpet its holiday game on a day devoted to cornucopia.  NBC’s Thanksgiving games have over the past five years lured anywhere from 17 million (New York Giants vs, Washington Redskins) to 27.8 million (Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers). Its Thanksgiving game is the last piece of an all-day serving that also includes its morning broadcast of “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” and “The National Dog Show.” Some advertisers are likely to support the gamut of programming rather than send their commercials to movie repeats and other holiday-themed TV offerings.

NBC Sports has gone as far as creating complete uniforms for each “side dish” – logos, jerseys and gloves. Fans will be able to interact with their favorite on Twitter throughout the rest of the week. On Thanksgiving Day, five models dressed in the side-dish uniforms will appear on NBC’s ”Today.” And there’s a chance the winning side could be announced on TV during the game, depending on circumstances, says Signor.

The promotion evokes memories of the Bud Bowl, the animated stop-motion promotion aired by Budweiser during Super Bowls between 1989 and 1991. That commercial series played out on traditional TV, with Super Bowl viewers left wondering until the fourth quarter which team ultimately won. And because there was no social media at the time, viewers had no influence over the outcome.

In 2019, there’s more that can be done with promos. “There’s sort of this understood battle about side dishes,” says Signor,. “Which sides should we be talking about and which sides have no business being in the conversation? People like black-eyed peas in the south  and on the west coast, salad is  a very controversial topic.” The intent is “to get into the conversation during the day to help differentiate our game that night.”

More TV

  • Netflix backed animated films “Klaus,” left,

    'Klaus,' 'I Lost My Body' Top 47th Annie Awards as Netflix Dominates

    Netflix dominated the 47th Annie Awards on Saturday, Jan. 25, picking up 19 trophies, including the top prizes of best feature (“Klaus”), best feature-independent (“I Lost My Body”), best TV/media production for preschool children (“Ask the Storybots”) and best general audience TV/media production (“BoJack Horseman”). Disney TV Animation’s “Disney Mickey Mouse” won best TV/media production [...]

  • 'SNL': Watch Adam Driver Deliver 'Star

    'SNL': Adam Driver Delivers 'Star Wars' 'Undercover Boss' Sequel (Watch)

    When Adam Driver hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 2016 he went viral for a “Star Wars”/”Undercover Boss” mashup sketch that saw his Kylo Ren put on a disguise in order to observe his employees ala the CBS reality show. Four years later, he has done it again. While hosting the Jan. 26 episode of “SNL,” [...]

  • Hillary Clinton Hulu Documentary

    'Hillary': Clinton Docu-Series on Hulu TV Review

    As both Hillary Clinton and the team behind “Hillary” know very well, it’s nigh impossible at this point for someone to approach her with total objectivity. Throughout her life, Clinton has been a uniquely polarizing figure both in her own right and because of her marriage to former President Bill Clinton, himself a perpetual lightning [...]

  • Baldvin-Z

    Iceland’s Baldvin Z Crime Series “Black Sands” Added to All3Media Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden  All3Media is to handle international rights on Icelandic crime series “Black Sands” which, currently in development, is to be pitched at the Göteborg Festival’s TV Drama Vision confab on Thursday. “Black Sands” marks the first crime thriller to be created by Icelandic helmer Baldvin Z (“Trapped”) since the hit series “Case.” Commissioned by [...]

  • Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the

    Fox's Super Bowl Ad Time Was Sold Out. Until it Wasn't

    Fox declared in November that it had sold all the advertising time available in its looming February 2 broadcast of Super Bowl LIV. But just this week, it found a little more. After holding nearly two months’ worth of discussions, Fox and the National Football League have devised a way to add commercial inventory to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content