What Brands Can Learn From Jimmy Fallon

What Brands Can Learn From Jimmy Fallon

Jane Clinch, digital director at Vizeum Sydney, shares her insights into what brands can learn from Jimmy Fallon.

Jimmy Fallon is basically the king of the internet, and maybe even the world.

Since taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in February this year he continues to go from strength to strength. In his first week as host, Fallon gathered more than 10.4 million total viewers — the biggest overall audience for the program since Johnny Carson hosted in 1992.

Although it is important to note Fallon’s success and following started long before then. From Saturday Night Live, a bunch of movie and TV appearances, to a five year stint hosting Late Night, Jimmy Fallon hasn’t built his hilarious empire overnight. Still, it has been in recent years that Jimmy has risen to global fame and now has centre stage on a show (and more importantly content) that not only gets people wetting their pants with laughter but creates conversation, starts trends and engages audiences around the world.

Whilst the list of what brands and agencies can learn from Fallon is long and continually evolving, here are a few consistencies we’ve seen from Fallon over the years that are worth taking note of:

Be personable

On ‘Late Night,’ it’s like we’re all in on the joke. That’s what I wanted it to be. I’m not doing something sneaky. Inside jokes, I don’t like those. We can all ride together, and everyone’s on the same thing going, ‘Aha, I know where you’re going here.’

Jimmy comes across like he is just like one of “us”. He likes what we like, he laughs at what we laugh at, and he makes you feel like he’s an old friend. This works with guests and audiences alike. You get the feeling guests want to appear on his show rather than the standard scripted interviews they partake in. Jimmy has a genuine nature, you see him get excited to meet his idols, rather than just another interview he has to do.

When we see our favourite celebrities laughing and playing with others, it makes them seem more relatable and makes you feel like you’re in on the joke.

Embrace social channels

I’m on so late I’m definitely the last seconds of anyone’s attention. So I just want to give them something dumb to laugh at, so they go, ‘That’s funny,’ then fall asleep.

Jimmy Fallon has seen such viral success on the internet because he shares a love for the stuff the internet shares. With over 13million followers on his own Twitter account and already over 1.3million on his Tonight Show account, Jimmy has the scale to widely share content and drive social conversation.  He relies on Twitter to source content for his show, with his custom hashtags often trending.

He also knows that the internet is where a large portion of his audience engage with his content, not TV. The Tonight Show’s social channels feature content tailor-made for an audience who doesn’t watch late night network television, but who will laugh at a clip on YouTube or re-blog a goofy caption GIF on Tumblr and his clips bring in views at the tens of millions.

Create moments

I didn’t act like I was there. I just got into the story.

Each night on The Late Show, Fallon creates moments or events that are unique, stupidly funny and at times completely ridiculous. From skits to songs, on his own or with celebrity guests, the show is made up of individual pieces of content that all have the ability to become the latest moment or event that goes viral online.

jimmy fallon

The list of moments that Fallon creates are endless and these original, viral gems create the proverbial water cooler conversation on the internet week after week.

 Don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun with it

‘Have fun’ is my message. Be silly. You’re allowed to be silly. There’s nothing wrong with it.

People appreciate brands that don’t put themselves on a pedestal. A large part of Jimmy’s charm is that he is a bit of a goof.

He involves his audiences in games on stage, he comes up with ridiculous challenges to take on A-list celebrities and he really does seem to have the best time doing it. Whether he is the butt of the joke or laughing along with a guest or audience member, Fallon doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Be relevant

Thank you… Apple, for adding a camera to the iPod Nano. Now it’s just like the iPhone except it can’t make calls. So basically, it’s just like the iPhone.

Fallon is not a Gen Y, a millennial or any other term you might use for the “young” people of today. But despite his age Fallon connects with a broad audience, including that hard to capture 18-35 audience, through a set of shared values that he has incorporated into The Tonight Show. He is acutely in-tune with what is “going on”, from pop culture, web memes, and the Buzzfeed-y ’90s nostalgia that resonates with anyone who likes a LOL.

Jimmy reaches his audience with content that is funny, interesting, weird, authentic, and shareable to a generation or people that not only appreciate that kind of content but will amplify it through conversation and sharing.

Know your audience and know what they want to see.


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