NBC Universal Future of Media Media Planning and Buying

‘Think like an entertainer’: NBCU and Sky unveil Co-Lab to produce global ad strategies


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

July 21, 2021 | 3 min read

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal and Sky have unveiled Co-Lab, a new global consultancy and research arm centered around culture.


Co-Lab will be staffed with minds from NBCUniversal and Sky, spanning from creative, partnerships and measurement

After unifying a global ad product in 2020, offering reach to some 50 million customers in Europe and North America, a new conjoined product is cropping up next to the One Platform. More broadly it claims to reach 700 million individuals every month in more than 160 countries.

Now harnessing these viewing consumptions for insights, the group is launching Co-Lab, which sees the media owner integrate itself as a strategic partner earlier in a brand’s process, shaping insight and creative as well as delivering the media.

Co-Lab will be staffed with minds from NBCUniversal and Sky, spanning from creative, partnerships and measurement. It will offer two distinct products.

One is Co-Lab Cultural Consultancy. It is focused on ‘finding disruptive growth opportunities within culture that brands can occupy’. It will back these ventures with research. There’s also an opportunity to integrate with ‘NBCUniversal and Sky’s stable of renowned storytellers’ on branded content: ‘Co-Lab partners can learn first-hand from the leaders in global entertainment, news and sports how to attract audiences from around the world in an authentic way.’

Next is Co-Lab Cultural Insights, which will distill cultural trends across NBCUniversal and Sky’s properties in 150 countries. An inaugural report entitled ‘Localism, Communities, & Fandom’ has already been released, giving a taster of what’s to come.

Speaking to The Drum, KC Sullivan, president and managing director, global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, said that many brands need to operate in multiple markets around the world and struggle to find the correct strategy to do so.

He said: “Co-Lab empowers marketers to think like entertainers. We’re able to abstract much of the complexity our partners experience, and see their challenges as opportunities to build innovative, creative and culturally relevant campaigns rooted in primetime entertainment culture.”

Sullivan will be baiting marketers with “unprecedented access to the pulse we have on the cultural trends that shape the world, and strategies to create content that resonates accordingly”.

This includes creative partnerships at NBCUniversal, the in-house production and creative team, that develops ad campaigns and integrations with the “biggest moments on TV”.

Looking ahead, he concluded: “Marketers can come to us with their biggest questions, boldest ideas and thorniest problems...”

Check out The Drum’s Future of TV deep-dive here.

NBC Universal Future of Media Media Planning and Buying

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