The way in which musicians, actors, record labels and studios market their products has not only dramatically changed in the last 10 years ago – but has changed in the last year alone and will continue to change. Beyonce dropped an entire album on iTunes with any *actual* marketing (you could argue that the entire year building up to that, the Superbowl, the HBO documentary was self promotion). Instagram videos are now an actual marketing tool used by studios to promote feature films. Actively having and using a Twitter account to promote your latest movie is almost as important as having any reputable skills. It is no longer safe for studios to simply release several posters, trailers and TV spots for a movie anymore – they need to go the extra mile to ensure their product will return a profit. And, in turn, celebrities seem to be going the extra mile to make sure they keep their jobs. How? By using whatever platform is available to them. It is more than marketing the product anymore – celebrities are now consciously marketing themselves. Marketing what exactly? Their likability! And Jimmy Fallon is willing to help them with that.
There was a time when simply appearing in a cold open of Saturday Night Live after a big scandal broke could salvage your career. Why? It made you seem likeable and that you were able to make fun of yourself. That really isn’t enough anymore; while Saturday Night Live is relevant, it’s still not exactly in tune with the instantaneous of this generation. Did you accidentally throw some slur words at paparazzi while leaving LAX and your big sequel comes out in 4 days and you need to do some backpedaling quick? Well, you can’t wait until Saturday because the movie opens on Friday and the first day box-office gross is important. Well, look no further than Jimmy Fallon.
Jimmy Fallon is the King of Late Night. I am declaring this right here and right now. We don’t have to wait another two years to figure this out because it should be very clear to you that it is very much the truth. No other late night host goes viral moments after a sketch or interview airs. No other late night host goes viral several times in one week. No other late night host is doing what Jimmy Fallon is doing right now and doing so successfully. This is not a question of whether you like him or not. This is not a question about whether or not he is a good interviewer. Jimmy Fallon is getting the job NBC and his guests want done – viewers, headlines, clicks, repeat. And, in turn, celebrities are getting whatever extra boost they need – if they even need it. For example: Emma Stone is incredibly well liked around the world and is a pretty major movie star free of any flaws. So she didn’t need to do that lip-synch battle with Jimmy Fallon earlier this year to promote The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but it also didn’t hurt either (the video currently has 32 million views and counting). Most celebrities are not Emma Stone though. Most celebrities are, for example, Halle Berry.
Halle Berry is a successful actress that is a household name but doesn’t really move you either way. Halle Berry isn’t really known for her likability or general hilariousness, so to help promote her summer TV series, Extant, she went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. In addition to the actual interview, Halle appeared in a sketch that had her and Jimmy literally just rolling on the floor and she also participated in charades. I’ll repeat: Halle Berry rolled on the floor and played charades to get you to watch her show. It was arguably her best work to date. Halle Berry 10 years ago, at her most famous, probably would not have done this – a simple interview was more than enough. But the bare minimum is no longer enough. Jimmy Fallon got Brad Pitt to appear in a skit of them having a break dance battle last night (in order to promote his new movie Fury, of course). Brad Pitt break-dancing. For laughs & for promotion. What is this world? Are you a celebrity who is conscious that you’re not entirely well liked? Are you, for example, Anne Hathaway? Why not sing rap-songs in a hilarious manner to help your likability factor and even take aim at your critics (yes you, you Hathahatin bitches)? Going on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon offers you a simple, fast and easy way to get out of any sticky situation, promote whatever it is you have to promote and, if willing, have some fun.
If you’re not free or willing to commit to hosting Saturday Night Live or a day long shoot for a Funny or Die video, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon offers celebrities the same kind of exposure but without the commitment, difficulty and the strings attached. I want to like Robin Wright outside of House of Cards, so having her dance ridiculously will for sure help that. Charlize Theron is pretty polarizing; having her play charades sure did make me at least consider going to see A Million Ways To Die In The West (I still didn’t see it but it helped). Hey remember when Zac Efron went to rehab for being addicted to cocaine and then was found under a really sketchy bridge in L.A just weeks before his blockbuster comedy Neighbors was set to open? Having him dress up as a girl sure did make me forget about all of that!
Celebrities doing things with talk-show hosts is nothing new. It’s been happening forever; Ellen has kind of been doing this same sort of thing since she started (remember when she hit Sandra Bullock over the head with a bottle? Memories!) but not to this kind of success that I’d argue is almost imperative to a celebrities and their promotion schedule. I’d also argue that if you’re a celebrity and you don’t engage with Jimmy in some way when on his show, well that’s just silly.