SNL will create actual ads for TV

Until I came to Syracuse University, my perceptions about advertising were largely based on “Mad Men” and “The Crazy Ones.” For me, advertising was either a glamorous industry that thrived on extremely attractive employees or a mad house run by a creative genius. And while both of these facts may be true to some extent, the world of TV advertising is changing.

“Saturday Night Live” recently announced it will be creating real ads for TV for major brands like Verizon and Apple. SNL has been a pioneer in the field of the ad parody, with them even making a parody of the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad.

TV enthusiasts can’t deny the impact SNL has had on the history of pop culture, and not just American pop culture. It is considered an institution in the field of comedy, with SNL alumni making it big in the TV and film industry. I would name a few, but there are just way too many of them, and you probably know who they are anyway.

And while the show’s sketches range from top-notch to absolutely stupid, SNL can be considered a satirical lens through which we see world events, like its recent obsession with political comedy where Trump and his cabinet are the butt of all jokes. Forget “30 Rock” — this is the peak of Alec Baldwin’s career.

For a show that knows how to read and understand the demands of its audience, SNL makes great ad parodies. Parody might be the greatest form of mockery, and it is much easier to make fun of something than it is to make something. SNL has proven it can do the former, but whether it can do the latter is less clear.

Over the course of its 42 seasons, “Saturday Night Live” has established an aspect of comedy that thrives on calling out absurdity and ridiculousness. The show has always been on a path of embracing new trends and making them seem unnecessary. And sometimes, this works in the favor of the brand the show mocks.

Late-night television is an industry very much involved with advertising. Some like to endorse products and some like to make spoofs of them. But either way, they’ll still be profiting from letting that one can of Coke be shown on the air for a few seconds. Jimmy Fallon has done it, James Corden is doing it and Stephen Colbert is thinking about it.

Show creators reason that advertisements are the best way to attract younger audiences. The target audience for this media is young and easily distracted. If a sketch is not funny enough to keep us hooked, you know the show will suffer. Because commercialism is weaved into the fabric of our society, comedy is now turning to material products.

“We wanted to make sure we got it right. We are doing what we always do, but the difference is that everyone is paying attention,” SNL creator Lorne Michaels told Variety.

It may be a hit or miss, but the process of transitioning from spoofs to actual ads should be an interesting one to watch. It’s not Don Draper who is pitching ads on TV anymore, it’s the writers and actors of “Saturday Night Live” themselves. TV writers are reclaiming their space on air. It may feel like an exaggeration, but this is a big deal for producers. SNL must ensure that the products get enough spotlight while still retaining their trademark humor. If Lorne Michaels’ plans work out, this could bring about the decline of the advertising industry.

Just kidding. Advertising majors can stop freaking out.

Malvika Randive is a freshman writing and rhetoric major. Her column appears weekly in Pulp. You can reach her at


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