It’s not just comedy that acclaimed website Funny or Die is engaged in. It’s funny business too.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

What’s So Funny? Marketing

Comedy Website Funny or Die Makes a Business Out of Skits With Big Names

Football season may be three months away but New England Patriot Tom Brady is already drawing a crowd, thanks to an online comedy skit that doubles as a clothing ad.

In a three-minute video created by comedy website Funny or Die, the three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback pretends to get flustered as a sporting-goods sales clerk badgers him about his Boston accent—which Mr. Brady doesn’t have. The skit has been viewed more than a million times on the site since it was posted in late May and has also been picked up by other websites such as CBSSports.com and by TV networks such as ESPN.

The video is a subtle advertisement for athletic apparel maker Under Armour Inc., (UA +4.00%) for which Mr. Brady has been a pitchman since last year. Regular visitors to Funny or Die, best known for its connection to comedian Will Ferrell, might have guessed. Since its founding in 2007, the website has become one of the go-to venues with marketers looking to create soft-sell promotions they hope will go viral.

See said video here.

And there are other comady videos:

Funny or Die created 47 branded-entertainment campaigns last year, 23% more than 2010, and has worked with big spending marketers such as General Motors Co.,(GM -0.28%), Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT -0.21%) and PepsiCo Inc. (PEP +0.30%). The website’s revenue has grown 40% to 50% in each of the past three years, to a projected $40 million in 2012, with profit expected to be in the single-digit millions, said a person familiar with the situation. That helped draw the attention of Time Warner Inc.,(TWX +2.79%) whose Turner unit last month bought a roughly 10% stake in the site for nearly $20 million, the person said.

Funny or Die “has tons of repeat business, which to me says it’s working,” says David Levy, head of sales, distribution, and sports at Turner.

Which to the Sneak ADtackniks says it’s funny or dangerous.

 


John Carroll, who also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town, is a media analyst and mass communication professor at Boston University.
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