Major advertising as content marketing

Jerry Seinfeld pulled off a pleasant – and smart – surprise during Sunday’s big game: airing an ad that was welcomed into households under the guise of a visit from old friends, a mini-“Seinfeld” reunion with Jerry, George and Newman.

Acura is the sponsor of Seinfeld’s addictive “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” web series, featuring guest stars from Larry David to Tina Fey to Chris Rock. The car company’s faux-retro, self-aware spots air before and after each segment.

Although the TV spot promoted the “Comedians” site and did not mention Acura, the company benefited by extension. The spot drove viewers over to the “Comedians” site, where they viewed one of Acura’s ads before diving into a longer reunion video. A win for Seinfeld as it drove traffic to where his series lives, and a win for Acura, as it created a halo of consumer goodwill for them as sponsor of a “Seinfeld” reunion.

Here’s why it worked:

• It was a non-ad ad. Instead of another flashy “here’s our car” spot, it offered something people actually wanted to watch.

• They used the power of social media, word-of-mouth and publicity to hype it. “Jerry and George sighted at the diner” stories appeared on every major website and Jerry addressed the rumors of a reunion spot on a sports radio show. This mash up of viral and traditional PR opportunities built anticipation.

• “Newman.”

• The spot ended on the right note. When Seinfeld and Jason Alexander laugh, they are laughing at themselves and the situation. They – and we are – in on the joke. They are not taking it seriously, and that makes it all the better.

 

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