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Toyota and Others Get Laughs with Branded Content

  |  May 14, 2012   |  Comments

FunnyOrDie and CollegeHumor artists say new campaigns from Butterfinger and Toyota are on the way.

billyeichnerBranded humor, since Orbit partnered with actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett two years ago, has received significant industry attention. According to comedians speaking at Internet Week in New York today, there's still money being thrown at the marketing niche, with new campaigns on the way from Butterfinger and Toyota. Though business is better for some than others, the comics explained.

"A year ago, I was getting asked to do a lot of it, but not anymore," said Seth Herzog, who's appeared on Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon's late night talk shows and various TV spots. Herzog and his fellow panelists took a couple of minutes to chat with ClickZ after their event.

Billy Eichner (above), creator of "Billy on the Street," a FunnyOrDie.com segment that's now a cable TV show, gave a different assessment. He pointed to a new FunnyOrDie.com series he's working on with Butterfinger as an example that branded humor is still being tested. "Maybe there's not a lot, but there's still a healthy amount of it going on," Eichner said.

Patrick Cassels, a writer with CollegeHumor.com, essentially agreed with Eichner, mentioning how he recently worked with Toyota on an upcoming "Car Talk" series for the 2013 Prius. "I think clients are still asking for branded content," he said. "It doesn't seem to slowing down. We are still writing it and producing it, as of this week anyway."

Here are other interesting items the panel discussed in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood this morning:

  • Herzog said, when "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" was launched three years ago, the show's producers firmly etched social media into their mission statement. "Every shot was shot so it could be a viral video," he said. Herzog later added that "the Fallon blog has its own staff."
  • Eichner addressed how Twitter can affect his content decisions. "You find out immediately what [viewers] like versus what they don't like," he said. Eichner said there's comedic tone "that works on Twitter, but not TV. How do you monetize that?"
  • Internet video has interestingly mirrored the best-practice length of sketch comedy, Cassels said. "We [historically] have made three to five minute sketches," he explained. "It's essentially the same as the Internet attention span."

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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