How Comedy Central Gets Fans Talking Online and Off

Social Media Week

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Walter Levitt, the Chief Marketing Officer of Comedy Central, started his presentation with a glorious reel of Comedy Central’s recent triumphs, peppering in clips of his successful marketing campaigns, including footage of their highly successful Snapchat Discover channel.

It’s all about knowing your audience. Comedy Central’s main audience is male millennials. Walter asks, “What’s the most important thing to them to shape their personality?”

Funny enough, it’s comedy. This group is most likely to share funny content, aka Comedy Central-like content. According to Walter, “comedians are the new rock stars.”

Social sharing of relevant videos is key. Before Comedy Central aired the Roast of Justin Bieber, they aired a video of Justin getting egged. Not only did Justin’s fans share it, but so did that massive audience of male millennials. Walter believes that the social sharing of the video drove new audiences to watch the roast.

Walter says a great marketing tactic is to “give them things they’ll want to share.” For Another Period, he hired attendants to carry an ottoman outside of Comic Con San Diego, causing to people to Instagram the spectacle from afar or to get on the fancy ottoman to be a part of the fun.

When creating a campaign, look at what is the most sharable. For a show like Key & Peele, Walter pulled out specific characters they portray out of the show to create a viral campaign, namely their impression of Obama. Within hours, the video hit a million views. From this, the marketing strategy for the show has been focused on video sharing.

In his parting words, he suggests to try a lot of unique campaigns to see what works. Sometimes it won’t work and some campaigns can’t be measured. “But when your brand stands for crazy and irreverent, you have to do some crazy-ass s&*t.”

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Kathleen Engle

student, NYU


I'm a graduate student at NYU, studying Digital Media Publishing. I've previously worked in the book publishing industry. For my thesis, I'm creating a content aggregator app that works across social platforms. My hobbies are graphic design and trying out popular news apps. I'm also an excel guru and a sixth generation Floridian.

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