NBC hasn’t scheduled a new edition of its venerable “Tonight Show” after the Super Bowl, but viewers who stick around are going to see some new late-night antics courtesy of Jimmy Fallon.
As part of an alliance with Samsung Electronics, Fallon will star in a 60-second post-game commercial, paying homage to movies as part of a tie in to the Super Bowl taking place this year in Los Angeles. In doing so, he will also highlight how Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra uses features such as super steady video capturing, “nightography,” and more.
“We are already doing traditional media advertising like 30 second and 15 second ads that we run, but we know the story comes through much more impactfully and in a much more resonant way when we tell a very contextual story,” says Janet Lee, who oversees marketing for Samsung’s mobile business in the U.S. Fallon’s “Tonight, “she says, “has been a really good forum for us to do that.”
The Samsung-Fallon alliance, one of three longer-term agreements struck between NBC and advertisers in “Tonight,” is emblematic of the new ways Madison Avenue has been using late-night programs in recent years. Advertisers like to appear alongside late-night hosts because they are laser focused on the day’s events and news, giving the sponsors added relevance to consumers watching at home. Marketers can also use social media to call attention to the segments, and, in many cases, benefit from clips issued by the shows’ own social feeds.
In recent years, James Corden has worked with a bar sponsored by Heineken on set, and ViacomCBS recently set up a deal that wove Google into “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” The Late Late Show With James Corden” and “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” all on the same night. On ABC, Jimmy Kimmel has long done in-show segments for various advertisers. And Fallon, by many accounts, enjoys serving as a creative director of sorts, working with his producers to juggle an ad pitch while maintaining the voice of “Tonight.”
“With this project, fans of ‘The Tonight Show’ can experience late night in a whole new way,” Fallon said in a statement. “ It’s been a great collaboration, that puts the spotlight on Samsung’s new Galaxy S22 Ultra Device, and we’re excited to kick off the campaign with them.”
The post-game vignette represents the latest work Fallon and “Tonight” have done with the consumer-electronics giant. In 2019, for example, the host opened one “Tonight” broadcast by telling viewers the entire episode had been shot with the Samsung Galaxy S10+ smartphone, which features an ultra-wide camera lens, and then went on to showcase some of his favorite New York spots. In 2021, Fallon offered Samsung phone to mothers as part of a Mother’s Day celebration, and Samsung backed a “Tonight Show Film Festival” that used creations made using the Galaxy 21 Ultra.
Samsung executives believe the Fallon work helps the company make more clear to potential customers how new upgrades make their gadgets more attractive and useful, says Lee. “When we are talking about our camera, we want to hit all the key features,” and sometimes, it’s helpful to give consumers more of a demonstration than is possible within the confines of a traditional TV advertisement.
The partnership also helps the shows, says Katie Hockmeyer, NBC Entertainment’s executive vice president for late night programming. “This partnership allows us to bring new ideas and creativity to our audiences that only can be delivered by Jimmy himself,” she says. NBC could be interested in crafting similar agreements with other advertisers, says Mark Marshall, a president at NBCUniversal’s advertising and partnerships division. “We are always looking around every corner to bring our viewers out-of-the-box engaging content that they connect with,” he adds.