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Saturday Night Live is teaming up with brands to create bespoke ad spots that will run during the show’s commercial breaks.
Currently, NBC has inked deals with Verizon and Apple to have SNL create custom — and likely hilarious — content that will carry the show’s antics over into regular commercial breaks, according to Variety. The Verizon spot, for example, will be written by “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost and will feature cast member Kenan Thompson. It’s slated to run during the April 8 and April 15 episodes of NBC’s long-running, late-night comedy show.
Reportedly, Apple’s custom ad spot — which is slated to run in a few weeks’ time — will look quite a bit different than the Verizon commercial, people familiar with the situation told Variety. Though currently, it’s not entirely clear how the ad will turn out, or how SNL’s distinctive humor will be woven into the commercial.
This is just the latest move in a larger effort by NBC to make Saturday Night Live more compelling to watch during its live broadcast — rather than on YouTube or other online streaming media. And it works hand-in-hand with Madison Avenue’s goal of weaving branded content into late night programming. “Many brands want to be part of the cultural conversation,” one advertising executive told Variety, and allowing this custom content will likely make the show more appealing to potential advertisers.
This is certainly new territory for Apple, in particular. The company has a long history of running innovative, evocative and award-winning ad spots. Though, until now, the majority of Cupertino’s ads have been created by the company’s in-house advertising division, or made by established agency partners. But it could turn out well for the company — seeing as SNL is arguably in its most talked-about season yet.
Verizon’s ad spots will air in the next couple of weeks, and Apple’s bespoke commercials are expected to run later in April or early in May.