Stephen Colbert: Political pundit… And seasoned marketing/branding professional?

As of late, I’ve become a huge fan of The Colbert Report. I am interested in politics and media, which are Stephen
Colberts biggest targets for satire, and he does a great job at making both look absurd. The right-wing political pundit’s show is full of memorable quotes, such as “Democrats lead in all the polls by at least ten points, except one… Fox News. That is within a margin of error of plus-or-minus the facts.”

Colbert’s comedic genius exposes the absurdity of Super-PAC’s and rampant media bias, but he is also a genius at two other things: marketing and branding.

Stephen’s Colbert Bump has proven to increase book sales by an average 10x what they were prior to appearing on his show. That’s very impressive, and I’d love to compare it to the “bump” given on other talk shows. Colbert himself has an entire product line, some real and some fake; the profits of many of the real products, such as Ben and Jerry’s “AmeriCone Dream”, go to charity.

Colbert somehow manages to weave in corporate sponsorship on his show without selling out, by making it funny and ridiculous. A great example of this is Dr. Pepper sponsoring his episode with Radiohead, a band which has anti-corporate leanings.

One of the most impressive things about Stephen Colbert is his ability to maintain his character off-set. Just look at him at a Congressional hearing. He managed to frustrate some Congressmen with his antics, but you can tell that he is using his brand to raise awareness of an issue he cares about. I personally admire Colbert not only because I think he’s the funniest person on TV, but also because his brand is intelligent and he knows how to use it both to turn profit and to push issues that matter to him. And that’s the word.

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