Thursday February 4th, 2016

3 Marketing Lessons from Jimmy Fallon

By now, you’ve probably been witness to the epic lip sync battle Fallon had with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart on the Tonight Show -- a clip which is rapidly approaching 59 million views on YouTube. Or perhaps you’re more familiar with his Oscar-winning performances in Taxi and Fever Pitch (not so much).

Certainly, we can’t forget about Jimmy’s awesome reign on SNL’s Weekend Update with co-host Tina Fey, or being known as the guy who couldn’t help but to crack up at Will Ferrell during the infamous "More cowbell" and "Love-ahs in a hot tub" SNL sketches -- all of which were iconic and hilarious.

More cowbell

Jimmy Fallon has claimed the #1 position in late night ever since taking over the Tonight Show in 2014...a very impressive accomplishment, so how did he do it?

There are many reasons, but here are 3 that we as marketers should take into consideration.

1. Authenticity Matters

Jimmy Fallon is genuine. His "let’s just keep it fun" demeanor has won him many fans and people can easily relate to him because he’s such a goof and he’s not afraid to show it. He allows his personality to shine through, while at the same time remaining humble. You can’t help but to root for the guy.


What is your brand’s personality? Is it shining through in a relatable, authentic way? Nowadays, consumers want and expect brands to stand for something. What does yours stand for?


2. Know Your Audience

The Tonight Show’s core target demographic is 18-49 year olds. In 2014, when Jimmy took over as host, his team recognized that YouTube was reaching more of their demographic than any cable network, and they saw opportunity. Unlike his counterparts, who were following the traditional means of late night broadcasting, Fallon set out to reach his audience where they spent most of their time -- online. A whopping 70% of the show’s views to date are digital.

Late-Night Show Ratings


How well do you really know your target market? Understanding what they’re reacting to, or beginning to react to, is absolutely vital to reaching your customers in a meaningful way. Do you receive emerging consumer insights and trends to review on a frequent basis? If not, we should talk..


3. Be Different

Jimmy has flipped the script for what to expect from your late night show -- marking a change from the traditional celebrity interviews and musical guests -- to introducing new, laughable celebrity impressions, show parodies, sketch-show performances and shareable music-oriented bits that are going viral on a daily basis. Constantly innovating and trying new outside-the-box ideas has been key to Fallon’s late night takeover.


What do you do to keep your brand fresh? Are you experimenting and considering new approaches to old problems? If you’re not fostering a culture of innovation within your business, you are going to be left behind.

Grace Hopper

While we all secretly wish that we could out hang with Jimmy Fallon and be a part of his next big viral segment on the Tonight Show, it’s probably not that likely to happen. We can, however, take lessons from his creative strategy and incorporate them into our everyday marketing conversations to help grow our business.

And speaking of conversations -- let’s have one. One of the best things about my job is having the opportunity to connect with interesting people on a daily basis.

So drop me a line at and let’s talk.


Cory Earl,

Director, New Business Development

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