Some of the best branding tactics are born out of happy accidents. The revitalization of the Saturday Night Live brand is a direct result of the uncanny resemblance between Tina Fey and Sarah Palin. Fey, an SNL vet, returned to the show to play the role of the vice presidential candidate – and ratings are way up.
“Through the first three weeks of the season,” CNN reports, “Saturday Night Live has averaged 8.3 million viewers, or 49 percent more than last year, according to Nielsen Media Research. The skits have also drawn tremendous Web traffic, with 9.3 million people watching an online clip of the ‘Clinton-Palin’ segment. The ‘Couric interview’ has been seen by nearly seven million people, NBC said.” Fey went on to draw in viewers with the “Vice Presidential Debate” sketch.
SNL’s recent rise in success spawned Weekend Update Thursdays, a new prime time spin off that debuted last Thursday and is scheduled to air two more times before the election. This added exposure further strengthens the SNL brand’s competitive edge with satirical strongholds like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Watch carefully, for branding opportunities come in all sorts of disguises.