Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel share the secret of advertising.

Jay, Jimmy and I hang out all the time . . . in the back of cabs.

I’m of course referring to TaxiTV and the non-stop promos that run of Jay and Jimmy’s respective TV shows.

Just the other day, the three of us were taking a trip down to the Lower East Side together, and I realized that they knew as much about advertising as they do about comedy.

See the spots that run in the back of those hacks aren’t 30 or 60 second commercials.  They’re 30 or 60 seconds clips from their shows . . . in their entirety.  You watch a bit of Jay’s monologue, or a Jimmy Kimmel sketch.  There’s no announcer screaming quotes at you, or trumpeting awards. There’s just the content saying, “Hey, like this?  If you do, you should tune in.  If you don’t like it, it’s not for you.”

It’s confidence in the content . . . and it works.

Of course, it’s much easier to advertise TV on TV.  Because you’re experiencing the content in the same way it was meant to be experienced.  Same thing with movies.  Which puts the theater (and live entertainment) at a serious marketing disadvantage (which is why we scream those quotes and trumpet those awards).

What we should be looking for is more ways to get our live content in front of our potential audience.  We need to tease people with the actual experience they are going to have in the theater.

What about putting singers in the lobbies of theaters to do a tune or two during intermission – entertain the troops as they wait for the ladies’ room and turn ’em on to a new show.  What about providing Times Square restaurants with a performer to sing a little ditty during dessert?  Or what about a daily performance on the TKTS steps . . . kind of like when a show breaks out on Main Street USA in Disneyland?

Jimmy and Jay have a “chin” up on us because of how much easier it is to market their medium.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t figure out ways to give them a run for their monologue.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.