As a color and a concept, green will be unavoidable across NBC Universal’s media properties this week, as network logos turn green, on-screen graphics offer tips for reducing carbon emissions and television episodes emphasize environmentally friendly plot lines.
Summarizing the cross-platform campaign is a slogan that manages to incorporate the company’s name: “Green is Universal.” The corporate undertones may leave consumers wondering whether the programming is merely a public relations ploy. Lauren Zalaznick, the president of Bravo Media, asserted that it was not.
“For a very cynical world, this is a very earnest effort,” said Ms. Zalaznick, who heads the NBC Universal Green Council. “We have to leave our world more sustainable than it is right now. If we can use our power as media to do that, and take a whole lot of consumers along for the ride, why wouldn’t we?”
The council and the weeklong campaign stemmed from a companywide program, announced in May, to reduce greenhouse gases and increase interest in environmental issues.
Many media corporations have moved to amplify public awareness of issues related to climate change. But NBC is taking the effort several steps further. This week on the reality show “The Biggest Loser,” for example, contestants will learn how to exercise without electricity; on “Scrubs,” a character is inspired by Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”; on “ER,” a character buys an energy-efficient car; and on “The Singing Bee,” participants sing songs about the earth.
“NBC Universal really has the ability to be positioned as the media market leader in green. Among all of our customers — consumers, advertisers, employees — the demand is rising for that,” Ms. Zalaznick said.
Ms. Zalaznick gave credit to Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chief executive of NBC Universal’s parent company, General Electric, for first using the slogan, perhaps unintentionally, while speaking at Universal Studios in May.
NBC News is putting its weight behind the initiative. Ann Curry, news anchor for the “Today” show, is expected to broadcast live from Antarctica while her colleague Matt Lauer broadcasts from the Arctic today and tomorrow.
In a phone interview from McMurdo Station in Antarctica last week, Ms. Curry said she had no opinion of the “Green is Universal” slogan, but said she was thankful for the opportunity to cover climate change.
“We are a linchpin in doing this work. In causing awareness, we can cause change,” she said.