Fallon Debut

During my four years at The College of Saint Rose, it was always kind of cool to know that Jimmy Fallon had attended the same classes, learned from the same professors and studied the same major as me. Faculty members would love to tell stories about the SNL superstar’s time in Albany and it was sort of surreal to read interviews in which he would name drop random places in the Albany Pine Hills neighborhood that Saint Rose calls home.

Fast forward some years later and Fallon’s star has risen higher than anyone could have imagined as he assumed the legendary role of host of The Tonight Show earlier this week. Not bad for a kid from Saugerties.

Saint Rose has definitely taken advantage of its connection to the comedian over the years – including presenting Fallon with an honorary degree and having him serve as the keynote commencement speaker in 2008. But I was particularly impressed with the way the school positioned itself this past Monday evening during Fallon’s debut as the new king of late night.

Saint Rose used the occasion to garner attention on not only the local, but national stage. The school organized an on-campus viewing party to celebrate the famous alumna’s first night at his new gig, which was well-attended by students and covered live by NewsChannel 13, our local NBC affiliate. I also saw countless interviews with Saint Rose faculty on the local news this past week, during which they recalled their time with Fallon as a student.

 

Not only did the on-campus premiere party provide a vehicle for Fallon to give a shout out to Saint Rose during the course of his first night on the air, but TODAY also showed footage from the event during its coverage of The Tonight Show host’s debut the following morning.

I also thought it was a nice touch that Saint Rose ran its regular TV ad during the broadcast but added a tag at the end which read “Congrats Jimmy Fallon, Class of 2009.” It certainly doesn’t hurt to highlight the fact that the latest person to take over one of television’s most prestigious gigs attended your school.

The message here matches that of one of our previous blog posts – it pays to align your brand with today’s top news item. While you might not be the shining star of the story, you will establish yourself as a major player on the scene. And you have to be in the game to win it.