5 Reasons ‘Saturday Night Live’ is Exactly Like Your Next Marketing Event


Every week for 40 years, Saturday Night Live coordinates cast members, crew, audience, sets, scripts, equipment, and hundreds of other parts & pieces into a live 90-minute production. It doesn’t always go as planned, but it almost always leaves the audience with the desired effect: laughter.

Watching the anniversary special this weekend I couldn’t help but notice how the events & experiences we create here at Boxman Studios are quite similar. Both a sketch and a brand experience start with a single idea thrown around a room, and then with incredible planning and coordination, you finally see it come to life at showtime.

Here are 5 things that a Saturday Night Live sketch has in common with your brand experience.

1. The Crew

We agree with Wayne & Garth, the crew is definitely number one on our list. Whether its a prop master or an event designer, a cast member or brand ambassador, a dependable crew is the backbone of a great sketch, and a great event. And the key to a good crew is communication, ensuring everyone is sending the same message–in our case, the message of your brand. Our crew is made up of architects, engineers, logistical experts, project managers, fabricators, activators, and drivers, who all work together to fulfill your objectives.

2. The Set

I can’t get enough of Darrell Hammond’s impersonation of Sean Connery, but what really sends it home is being able to see ‘Connery’ on the set of Jeopardy, at his podium, continually insulting poor Alex Trebek. What’s ‘Wayne’s World’ without the basement? The ‘Target Lady’ without the checkout line? ‘I’m on a Boat’ without the boat? The point is, when you want your audience to feel like they’re truly part of an environment, everything from the finishes to signage to the material has to contribute to that feeling. How detailed are we in our brand environments? Just ask TaylorMade about their 13 degree tilt.

3. The Edits

Not every sketch survives the cutting room floor. Whether due to time, logistics, or just not being funny enough, you simply can’t do every sketch. Brands are quick to jump on the newest trend or style because its popular, but they don’t always stop to see if it fits with their global brand strategy. It’s important that every event integrates into the rest of your strategy. Whether that means incorporating your digital strategy via interactive tech like Oreo, or making sure you’re activating where your target market is, like Hyundai, your event should always be part of a larger marketing strategy, and in line with that message.

4. The Performance

There was a whole skit during the anniversary special devoted to actors ‘breaking’ during a skit. It was one of my favorite sketches, and if you missed it check it out here, What made it so great is the fact that no matter how much you plan or rehearse, you can’t account for every variable during an event. For Will Ferrell it may be a prop falling over or an actor laughing mid-performance, for your brand experience it could be weather delays or technology failures. The key to surviving these incidents is how you adapt, knowing that you have the support ready to fix any problem that may come your way. That, and having a plan A, B, and C ready to go at a moment’s notice. Often, people’s favorite sketches are when everything in a skit happens unaccording to plan. The SNL cast are masters of improvisation,your event coordinators should be too.

5. The Laugh

A lot of people will tell you that all the hard work and preparation is for the performance, all the planning is leading up to that event, and after that you can rest easy. Any SNL cast member will tell you that’s not true. It’s all for the laugh. Or rather the experience that the audience leaves with. The digital age has made SNL more popular than ever, allowing viewers to share and comment on their favorite parts of the show. It’s important that your event has that same lasting effect. Give your guests a memory and turn them into brand ambassadors. Engage with your target market on a personal level and create long-lasting relationships. In 40 years there have been ups and downs, but everyone you know can recite their favorite SNL moment. Design an experience that creates moments for your audience.

Saturday Night Live has provided laughs and memories for the past 40 years. The production is a testament to what a creative and hardworking group of people can accomplish together. Here’s to another 40 years. Until then, party on Garth.