Late Night Show Brand Integrations: What you need to know

Brands love late night television—Carpool Karaoke—yes please! Fallon and Think Fast-done! And who doesn’t love Jimmy Kimmel’s sidekick Guillermo?! But before you dive in here, there are five elements to keep in mind before the integration even begins…

television brand activations

#1 Late Night is Expensive:
With the four major shows (Colbert, Corden, Kimmel and Fallon) averaging One Million + viewers a night—these integrations don’t come cheap. Colbert, Corden and Fallon all require a minimum of $1M media buy + an integration fee. If that’s not in the cards for your brand, fear not—there are still options. Jimmy Kimmel integrations are $275K and generally require no media buy.

#2 Creative Control:
This is a tough one for many brands to come to grips with, but bear with us. The reason these shows are so successful and receive so much consumer love online is because the show writers know their audience. And, because they know their audience so well, they get to write the content… even when it comes to brand integrations. This is not to say that they won’t take suggestions to heart, but this is not the time or venue to dictate every nuance of your brand’s messaging, i.e. what you want Jimmy Kimmel to literally say about you…

#3 The Brief:
This is a critical document that our team has worked with many brands to develop in collaboration with the show in question. It addresses everything from the messages you want to get across and the visuals you want represented, to the do’s and dont’s for your brand as part of the larger agreement. This is the holy grail for the brand integration process and should be treated as such.

#4 Timing and Approval:
More time is always better than less, but when it comes to late night integrations it’s even more important. We recommend a six-to-eight-week runway in order to ensure the best chance for success. This window provides ample time to draft the creative brief, have writers come back with the creative, and an opportunity to shop it around the halls internally (particularly with senior executives most vested in how your brand is represented externally). It also allows time for things we can’t predict (a show host sitting on the creative for a week because he’s out sick, for example). It happens.

#5 Streaming vs. Network:
Network TV relies on advertising dollars—it’s their lifeline. The advertising spend against specific shows determines the integration media buy. As it relates to streaming, those integrations are traditionally done through co-marketing partnerships—more licensing and retail relationships and not as much in-show content. When it comes to network integrations, it’s important to involve the media buying agency from the start as there is a strong likelihood that media dollars will need to be either leveraged or shifted to support the integration.

If your brand would like to know more about how this process works, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, Courtney Nally or Erin Hanley.