Media Analysis: Carbonite “ads” on Jimmy Kimmel Live

I got wind of two “ads” on YouTube for (which does online computer backup).  I thought they highlighted a lot of good things that are happening in marketing these days.  Namely authenticity, personality, and (because I can actually add this part) storytelling.

First, the ads:

  1. Storytelling: Aside from the obvious story that the JKL writers came up with above, the story behind how these came to be is pretty fun too.  Last year, Carbonite was running an ad on the Howard Stern Show.  Well, the ad came on at the same time that Jimmy Kimmel was being interviewed by Howard and Jimmy actually chimed in after the ad ran with a “Hey, I’ve been using Carbonite for years!” and then he and Howard talked it up for a few minutes.  Carbonite’s online sales shot up immediately following.  Jimmy was on the show again a few months later (Carbonite was still being advertised at that time) and they talked about it again, and Carbonite’s sales shot up.In June, Jimmy decided he was going to do live endorsements for his show.  But he endorses things he’s used, tried out and likes.  Smart move on Carbonite’s part to get in on that action.  So Jimmy’s writing team came up with these perfectly cheesy skits for the occasion!  That’s a pretty good story.
  2. Authenticity: Jimmy actually uses Carbonite, pays for it, and loves it.  No one paid him to talk on HSS for several minutes about he loves it.  Excellent.  The perfect brand ambassador is someone who loves the product and is willing to talk about it.  Oh, and it’s especially perfect if he happens to be famous and run a widely-viewed TV show.
  3. Personality: Bringing the brand down to a human level that people can relate to is key.  While Jimmy doesn’t exactly give the brand itself a particular personality, it certainly makes the brand more personal to people who watch this skit.  They can relate to the situation, get ticked off if it’s happened to them, and then get relieved that there’s a solution.  Phew!

So let’s see what we have here:

  • Jimmy Kimmel uses, pays for and likes Carbonite
  • Jimmy Kimmel is big time
  • Jimmy relates to potential Carbonite users (or, rather, they relate to him, but I needed to start the sentence with Jimmy so it looked nice)

Through some combination of the Symmetric Property and the Transitive Property (please don’t question my high school logic recollection), Carbonite gets some personal love from customers via Jimmy Kimmel.

And, to boot, except for the fact that the videos got viral and made it to YouTube (as they well should have), it was still pretty much entirely traditional marketing!  Gotta love when that happens.


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