Four days before he would lose to Barack Obama, McCain appeared as a "QVC pitchman," and finally seemed like a happy warrior. Although resigned to his fate as an election loser, the happy warrior incarnation fit him well, and could have benefited him on the campaign trail.
McCain's running mate Sarah Palin appeared as herself on an "SNL" episode several weeks before he took the stage. She received credit for being able to laugh at herself, but seemed a bit uncomfortable throughout. McCain seemed to be in his element. And credit the "SNL" writers for helping him do it.
Throughout the sketch, the screen used QVC-like graphics as McCain joined Palin--er, Fey--to sell various items ("our line of collectible products," he says) that were emblematic of the campaign. The products cleverly referenced issues McCain had tried to focus on, but could never seem to move to center stage.
In the actual campaign, McCain invited Obama to engage in 10 town-hall-style debates together--to no avail. So on "SNL," McCain looked to sell "10 commemorative plates that celebrate the 10 town-hall debates." "They are blank," he said, tongue-in-cheek.
McCain later offered up a set of knives to cut through tough pieces of pork, a reference to his efforts to have earmarks (or pork-barrel spending) stripped from the federal budget process.
If the "SNL" gig helped McCain burnish his image, what did it do for QVC?
A lot. The public gravitates to people or businesses that don't take a ribbing on "SNL" too seriously (that's why McCain was there). And QVC benefited from two things in particular: McCain reminding people what its initials stand for ("Quality, Value and Convenience")--and "SNL" using its newer logo that could counter some people's images of it as a dowdy channel. (QVC on "SNL" was one of the top product placements of the week, according to measurement firm iTVX.)
Last year, QVC received 181 million phone calls in the U.S. If a mere fraction of the audience that caught the "SNL" spoof pick up the phone, that's a significant boost.
Little Britain USA
Saturday Night Live
Kath & Kim
Chock Full O' Nuts