SNL's Thompson Shares Some Comedic Secret Sauce At Cannes, Turns Out It Includes Mayonnaise

CANNES, France – A funny thing happened on the way to the Palais this morning. We bumped into “SNL’s” Kenan Thompson and he was pitching mayonnaise. Actually, he was onstage sharing some of the comedic secret sauce he’s learned from 21 years as an “SNL” cast member, actor, producer, and occasional product pitchman, which is that unlike Hellmann’s mayonnaise, humor is not something you can capture in a bottle. At least not the kind that goes viral and becomes an instantaneous part of popular culture.

“I don’t know,” Thompson conceded to the audience here during the “Ready to Laugh Again” presentation hosted by VML.

By that, Thompson meant that after 21 years on “SNL,” he doesn’t know when a sketch will “blow up” and go viral.

Noting that “SNL” aired many hilarious sketches featuring people in the national spotlight -- everyone from Taylor Swift to George Santos -- but the breakout sketch of the past season “was about Beavis and Butthead, two cartoon characters from 30 years ago.

“Why did this happen? I don’t know,” he repeated, adding: “But I do know you can’t manufacture culture. All you can do is maintain a level of quality and consistency that opens the door for those moments to happen. Something you least expect could be the next highlight.”

When it does happen, he said, it achieves something every brand desperately wants: cutting through the deafening noise of modern, attention-scarce society.

“In 2024, we live with a constant assault on attention from texts, emails, social media,” Thompson noted. “There are even video ads begging to be heard at your gas station pump. But if something’s funny, it doesn’t need to fight for your attention. You’ll seek it out. People will even pass it around just to lighten your day.”

In addition to presenting this morning, Thompson said he was in Cannes hoping to cut some new brand marketing deals.

“This is going to be a big week, folks,” he explained, “And hopefully we’ll be finding new ways to sell your mayonnaise.”

That was a nod to the VML panel he joined, which included Hellmann's North America Head of Marketing Chris Symmes, who showed a reel including some especially hilarious spots -- including some very high profile Super Bowl ones -- that have used humor to help propel his brand to 30 billion earned impressions this past year.

In particular, Symmes said the humor campaign has helped position the Hellmann's brand around an important societal cause: "Make taste, not waste," and the brand's research reveals "an uptick every single year around the topic of food waste among consumers."

1 comment about "SNL's Thompson Shares Some Comedic Secret Sauce At Cannes, Turns Out It Includes Mayonnaise".
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  1. Robert Williams from MediaPost, June 19, 2024 at 11:40 a.m.

    AI can't write comedy, Google study suggests

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