The Coneheads are the latest characters from "Saturday Night Live' to turn up in TV commercials Coneheads: ‘Saturday Night Live’ Characters Turn Up in State Farm Ad – Variety

The Coneheads Are Latest ‘SNL’ Characters to Turn Up in Commercials

The original “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” from “Saturday Night Live” were given that title because their antics were edgy and eyebrow raising. Chances are three members of the troupe will exhibit more restraint in a new home.

Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin and Larraine Newman will reprise their roles as the Coneheads as part of continuing efforts by State Farm to use old “SNL” characters to generate new attention for the company’s sales of insurance. The appearance of the trio, all members of the original “SNL” cast, follows State Farm’s use of the show’s Chicago Super Fans ( George Wendt and Robert Smigel), and Hans and Franz (Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon) in past commercials as part of a broader agreement with Broadway Video, the company owned by “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels that produces the latenight bastion.

“Use of these nostalgic characters really allows us to reach a bigger and broader audience,” said Patty Morris, director of marketing brand content at State Farm, in an interview. The company has been teasing the Coneheads’ appearance in recent commercials, interrupting an old ad with a cut-in that flashes the hashtag #TuneInEarthlings. The Coneheads, an alien family stranded on Earth featuring Aykroyd as the patriarch, Beldar; Curtin as his wife, Prymaat; and Newman as teenage daughter, Connie, first appeared on “SNL” in 1977.

Current “SNL” viewers might be more familiar with cast member Kate McKinnon’s oddball impression of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, or Bobby Moyinhan’s strange “Riblet” character, but State Farm’s Morris notes “SNL’s” recent 40th anniversary celebration may give some of its oldest figure a new lease on life. The show recently unveiled a new app that gives access to hundreds of sketches from the program’s history. “People will gravitate to that,” said Morris.

She declined to comment on the specific terms of the agreement between State Farm and Broadway Video, and would not respond when asked if the pact involved a licensing agreement that would pay Michaels’ company for use of the figures. “It’s a unique partnership,” she said of the agreement. “Nothing is free in this world.”

In discussions, State Farm and Broadway Video hash out which of the program’s characters “would be strongest and best represent the history and integrity of ‘SNL,’” said Morris. “They also want us to stay true to the original characters. We are managing that. It’s something we have a lot of respect for.”

The return of the Coneheads comes as Broadway Video has seemed more welcoming of advertising alliances for “SNL” than it was in previous decades. In recent months, fans of the show have seen the launch of an “SNL”-branded MasterCard, and the appearance of cast member Cecily Strong in a Jeep commercial that offered a peek at how the program is put together each week. In March, one of the show’s sponsors, American Express, even went so far as to ask NBC to place one of its ads directly adjacent to an “SNL” parody of its current campaign.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • David Goodman

    WGA West's David Goodman on Agency Strategy: 'We'll Start Meeting as Soon as Possible'

    David Goodman, who was resoundingly re-elected president of the Writers Guild of America West on Monday, said the guild plans to meet with several talent agencies soon in an effort to ease the impasse over packaging fees and affiliated production. “Many agencies had indicated that they wanted to wait to see the results of the [...]

  • THE TITAN GAMES -- "The Titan

    'Titan Games' Renewed for Season 2 at NBC

    NBC has renewed the Dwayne Johnson-hosted competition series “The Titan Games” for a second season. The series features men and women battling opponents in head-to-head physical challenges designed by Johnson. Winners advance to Mt. Olympus, a test of speed, strength, agility and endurance. “When we launched ‘The Titan Games,’ we set out to create an [...]

  • David Goodman

    David Goodman Re-Elected President of Writers Guild of America West

    David Goodman has been convincingly re-elected to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America West, beating Phyllis Nagy in a bitter contest that became a referendum on the guild’s ongoing battle with talent agents. Goodman received 4,395 votes to Nagy’s 1,282 in an election that yielded record turnout among the WGA [...]

  • first wives club BET

    TV Review: 'The First Wives Club' on BET Plus

    Launching a series based on a beloved property is harder than it seems. On the one hand, you get the immediate boost of name recognition to lure in preexisting fans. On the other, straying too far from the plot and/or spirit of the original risks sparking their righteous wrath. It’s a tricky balance to strike, [...]

  • Thomas Golubic GMS Conference

    Guild of Music Supervisors President: 'The Economics of the Job Don't Work Anymore'

    The Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) hosted its 5th annual “State of Music in Media” conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Los Angeles Film School. Featuring a wide array of panel discussions on all manner of issues related to music in film, television and advertising, the confab drew top composers, music supervisors, licensing and [...]

  • Christopher Eccleston Anorexia

    Christopher Eccleston Reveals He Was 'Very Ill' With Anorexia While Filming 'Doctor Who'

    “Doctor Who” actor Christopher Eccleston has opened up about his anorexia, body dysmorphia and suicidal thoughts. Eccleston, who played the ninth incarnation of the Doctor, made the revelations in his forthcoming autobiography “I Love the Bones of You: My Father and the Making of Me.” “Many times I’ve wanted to reveal that I’m a lifelong [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content