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Apple has struck a deal with NBC to have the network produce commercial content in the form of sketches set to feature on its long-running Saturday Night Live show. It looks like the material will air in “a few weeks time” – before the end of its revivalist forty-second season.
First reported in Variety, the article reveals Verizon has also made a deal with the TV network to appear on the show.
SNL first revealed it would begin airing commercial sketches prior to the start of the season in October 2016. It was revealed that there would be a reduction of ad breaks by 30 percent to increase programming time. To make up for the shortfall in revenue, the show would start working with commercial advertisers to promote brands via on air sketches.
However, SNL hasn’t appeared to have aired that many over the season – having initially said there would be space for just six paid-for sketches. And often they’ve been ambiguous. A Dunkin’ Donuts sketch from earlier this year was apparently not paid-for, despite many thinking otherwise.
As for Apple, no one yet knows what it’s likely to look like, but Variety did report that Verizon’s ad would be written by Weekend Update host Colin Jost and feature long-term cast member Kenan Thompson. It’s expected to air during the Jimmy Fallon-hosted episode set to air on April 15. The show then takes a break until May 6 when it will air three episodes before the conclusion of the season – it’s safe to say that if you were to tune in during those episodes you’ll be able to pick out the Apple-sponsored sketch.
Apple is a massive brand to be sponsoring a sketch on the show – but it demonstrates two companies attempting to reach different audiences. Apple is likely trying to reach a younger audience that has begun to return to the show over the revitalized current season, which has seen audience figures shoot up thanks to a renewed focus on political satire.
As for SNL, the show is going after the YouTube or Netflix generation which is familiar with more inventive product advertisements over the traditional ad-break model.
“Everyone is struggling now in a world where there is so much media,” SNL head Lorne Michaels told Variety. “We are all competing for sponsors, and everything is being reinvented. ‘SNL’ has been reinventing itself from season two.”
According to two people “familiar with the situation,” Apple’s presence on the show will “look different” to Verizon’s, though Apple declined to comment on the story when approached by Variety.
Head to Variety for the full report.