• 03.31.09

Can NBC Brand Itself as the Green Network?

digg_url = ‘//’; digg_skin = ‘compact’; Would you watch a TV network just because it is somehow “greener” than the others? NBC Universal is betting on it. The company claims that polls show that its reputation as a green network is recognized among 82% of …


NBC’s 2009 Green is Universal campaign will be marked with the tagline “Green Lives Here”. The network will use variations on the tagline like “Green Laughs Here” and “Green Shops Here” depending on which show or ad is running. 


The company has touted its environmental awareness since 2007, when it launched the first Green is Universal week.  30 Rock‘s well-received “Greenzo” episode both played into Green is Universal week and made fun of it at the same time, while green-themed shows and PSAs were sprinkled throughout the network’s schedule. Since then, NBC has purchased carbon offset credits in bulk and launched a green-themed section of its Web site. The company also tries to make its live events as sustainable as possible, according to Lauren Zalaznick, Chair of NBC Universal’s Green Council and President of the Bravo Network. 

There’s a side benefit to NBC’s initiatives: they have saved the company $2 million over the past year.

But unless NBC starts running green-themed programming, it will never be able to entirely win over the environmental crowd. If you like Lost and Grey’s Anatomy better than 30 Rock and The Office, you’re probably going to watch ABC–even if NBC brands itself to death with green taglines.

As we pointed out in a 2008 Fast Company article about American Apparel, most people say that they care about the environment, but few follow up by buying eco-friendly products, or in this case, watching eco-friendly TV. And for those viewers who don’t care so much if their TV-watching habits are offset by carbon credits, NBC’s emphasis on green could even be alienating. All of this makes NBC’s play for the green market seem slightly unwise, as it could end up annoying loyal viewers without attracting new eyeballs. We’ll find out for sure, though, in the Nielsen ratings. 

[Via Broadcast & Cable]

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.