A Look Back at When Every Network Made Their Stars Do a ‘Brotherhood of Man’–Like Extravaganza


NBC released its new, pretty damn incredible all-network singing spectacle "Brotherhood of Man" video just in time for the Super Bowl yesterday. It's notable on several fronts: In it, Brian Williams decided to expand his non-journalism portfolio beyond comedy and into singing; the cast of Community gets a decent amount of screen time, giving us hope that Peacock brass mean it when they say the show isn't dead (yet); and it maybe, just maybe means broadcasters are once again open to the idea of giant, networkwide image campaigns in which all of its stars get together to shill for their supper. From the late seventies until the early nineties, the big networks regularly forced their actors (and even news anchors) to assemble each summer to participate in what was called a "mondo" shoot. All hands were on deck to sing (and dance) the praises of CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. These campaigns featured specially written songs meant to tell viewers just how awesome the network was ("ABC: Still the one!") or to command them to tune in ("NBC: Just Watch Us NOW!") while making the stars do kung fu kicks, air-guitar riffs, and even sexually harass their colleagues. In recent years, these ads have fallen out of favor, but NBC's "Brotherhood," classy and understated as it is, immediately took us back to the glory days of network branding campaigns. Inspired by the NBC ad, which we hope is just the first of a many more, here are some of our favorite promos of the past.