Millennial Marketing Lessons from Jimmy Fallon

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

How do you rebrand a company and increase its reach to the Millennial demographic?  Easy – hire Jimmy Fallon.   Jimmy Fallon took over NBC’s The Tonight Show in February and has since become one of the most watched late night show hosts in history.  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.  Even though Fallon is not technically a Millennial (he will be turning 40 this year) he connects with Generation Y through a set of shared values that he has incorporated into The Tonight Show.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 2.30.11 PMFirst and foremost, Jimmy Fallon speaks the Millennial language.  He is highly active on all social media accounts and engages Millennials in online conversation.  Earlier this month, Fallon started the #awkwardbreakup trend on Twitter.  His tweet, asking followers to share their awkward breakup stories, received dozens of responses within hours.  Fallon’s online engagement of the Millennial generation supports the new disruption model of communication brands are transitioning to in order to connect with Millennials on a more personal level.

Fallon also embraces Millennial trends and pushes content that can be shared online.  Clips from The Tonight Show are featured on Millennial-focused entertainment sites and have become viral sensations in their own right.

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One of Fallon’s most watched videos on Youtube is the History of Rap Music with Justin Timberlake.  As we have seen, Millennials are more likely than any other generation to watch and share online videos with friends.

Fallon’s approach to comedy has completely altered the way brands are incorporating humor into their campaigns. Here are five lessons that can be learned from Jimmy Fallon’s success on NBC’s The Tonight Show:

1.     Make the audience feel like they are in on the joke

2.     Use positive humor instead of cynical sarcasm

3.     Incorporate stories that Millennials can relate to

4.     Don’t be afraid to be silly.  Millennials appreciate brands that don’t put themselves on a pedestal

5.     Have fun.  When Millennials see their favorite celebrities laughing and playing with other, it makes them seem more relatable.  This same concept holds true for brands aiming to create a comedic campaign geared towards Millennials.

Leah Swartz contributed to this post. 

 Photo Credit: NBC The Tonight Show, Twitter, YouTube

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.