Most people who aren't famous comedians need all the help they can get when it comes to buying a new car. So when Conan O'Brien's longtime assistant needed to replace her old clunker, the TBS late-night star saw the potential for comedy gold.
In "CONAN"'s latest branded remote, "Conan Helps His Assistant Buy a New Car," the late-night host and his assistant, Sona Movsesian, use Autotrader's revamped website to search for a new ride. Beginning with a hilarious extended bit of O'Brien "inspecting" Movsesian's 2007 Volkswagen Jetta (barely hanging on after 160,000 miles and one tune-up), the ten-and-a-half-minute sketch follows the pair's use of Autotrader to search for Sona's new wheels and effortlessly integrates the website's new feature, the Kelley Blue Book Value Price Advisor. Starting with sensible and sensibly priced Subarus, O'Brien soon carjacks the process to view ridiculously unrealistic options: a $2 million (sorry, $1,999,999) Bugatti that runs on "liquid arrogance"; a Hummer so wildly overpriced above its KBB Value that O'Brien has Movsesian email the seller "I am so excited because I grew up on a stupid farm eating moron seeds"; and finally a filthy, broken-down 1990 Honda Accord, which the pair dub the "Murder Car."
The sketch is the first branded remote on the show to feature Movsesian, who has become one of O'Brien's most popular on-screen foils, particularly in 2015's instant classic "Conan Without Borders: Armenia," which followed the host and his assistant to her ancestral country. Like many of the show's sketches, the video is unscripted and features the cutting-edge humor that has been the hallmark of the show's comedy for years. The segment also works perfectly as both prototypically edgy "CONAN" comedy and seamless brand integration that it has been reviewed as a straight-up entertainment video by various media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and TheWrap.
O'Brien's unique ability to translate his trademark self-mocking humor into organic sponsored content for companies like Google Play and Taco Bell has been well established, so the Autotrader segment's winking-yet-brand-appropriate integration seems par for the course.
What's also impressive is just how viral the video has gone, garnering over 9.6 million views to date across Team Coco's social handles (and 6 million–plus 30-second views). More than 3.8 million have viewed the entire piece, which is particularly impressive considering the segment's running time. Behind the scenes, Turner Ignite's in-house social agency optimized the video to reach "CONAN" fans and Autotrader's target demo, generating a striking improvement in audience affinity compared with the average Facebook user for Autotrader of 350 percent and for car shopping in general of 125 percent.
"Partnering with 'CONAN' to help Sona find her next car gave us a great opportunity to showcase Autotrader's commitment to helping shoppers find their next vehicle faster than ever before, while delivering true price confidence in their purchase, in a fun and engaging way," says Greta Crowley, vice president of marketing for Autotrader. "It is important that we create campaigns that authentically bring to life the journey car buyers go through to find their perfect vehicle match and the success of this segment is proof we did just that."