Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” has been entertaining the nation with political satire and commentary for just shy of 20 years. On Monday, September 28, South African comedian Trevor Noah steps behind the desk that Jon Stewart built. And in a digital world where content is king, Stewart–the eviscerator, exposer, and destroyer–was an undisputed king of content.
So how do you hype an audience that fell head over heels in love with Stewart for a relative newcomer who could change the format or signal something of a thematic departure? Comedy Central thinks the answer lies, in part, with Google Ads.
Ad Age describes the clever way Comedy Central has been using paid search to reach people curious about Trevor Noah in the lead-up to his debut show. That curiosity is hitting a fever pitch, and Comedy Central’s marketing team recognized that some questions were being asked more than others: “How old is Trevor Noah?” “Does Trevor Noah have a girlfriend?”
When you Google these and other questions, you’ll likely see a video response from Trevor himself, part of a series of unlisted YouTube videos designed to meet searchers’ curiosity head-on. It’s an insightful way to control the conversation around a brand (or, in this case, a person) and a significant departure from the usual bread-and-butter paid search tactics.
So far, the unlisted videos haven’t seen much in the way of engagement. “Trevor Noah’s Stunning Girlfriend,” for example, has amassed only 95 views since the campaign launched on Thursday, September 10. Others, like September 1’s “Vying for Trevor Noah’s Attention,” have reached hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Still, Comedy Central’s moves shine a spotlight on a paid search strategy that breaks the mold.