Social Media Icons

Top Nav

When Conan Met Shaq In Cannes

When you hear the name Conan O'Brien all you can think of is pure comedy, and when Shaquille O'Neal joins, legendary record-breaking moments come in.

In the session Jacks of All Trades Masters of Some, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity both men discussed the brand behind their own public figures (with numerous instances of ongoing laughter).

When we talk about brand is that something that you are conscious of?
Shaq: To me it’s a way that I describe myself to the people out there. My brand is 70% humor, 10% to inspire and the rest is the products I am selling. In the world we are living in I try to make people laugh as much as possible. I think if people are laughing I stimulate their endorphins and they get rid of whatever stress they have for a few seconds, minutes or even hours.

Conan: My philosophy started after 2010 when I reincarnated in social media from an NBC host to Turner. I used social media to keep myself alive. By being myself and honest as I can with my viewers and fans is transformative, and that is what seems to work the most on the Internet. I want to make something funny that is comic without being an advertisement. If that’s not going to be the case, I won’t do it at the expense of my fans.

Conan, how do you select the right social media platform?
The great thing is I have a great team, one that is much younger and smarter. And they select the right content for different platforms; a good one-liner goes on Twitter, a good meme is for Facebook, and we do material that is just for Youtube. I am more excited about the work I am doing now since 25 years ago because there is no limit and it’s quite exciting.

Do you think there is a formulation for something that goes viral?
Shaq: I think it’s unpredictable for something to go viral. I don’t do something to go viral because some clips simply go viral without knowing why.

Conan: I believe that is true. I never planned for something to go viral. I build it and I hope it comes, but you can’t chase it. I think younger generations are very well educated and they know when you are talking down to them. Just make things that are funny, and if it’s good, it will go viral.

Shaq, what is the biggest plus and minus of being a celebrity and a brand ambassador?
Having been raised by a sergeant taught me to do the right thing, stay positive, be socially active, give back and stay out of trouble. There is a lot of positive and negative to being a celebrity. I always tell people with children, if I make a mistake I want you to teach the children to learn from my mistakes. I want to be a real model rather than a role model.

Canon, brand is always about extension are you considering the next level?
What I have tried to stick to is learning more about comedic principles, what is funny and what is not. A lot of comedy follows recent news; I am passionate about making things that are funny 15 years from now. I am just seeing that there are more opportunities now if you work with the right people. I like applying the principles I have learned on the Internet. Funny is funny, an idea in 1993 will be just as funny today as on the Internet. Sense of humor hasn’t changed over the years. My brand is me, and I have been working it on it since I was born. I am not an actor playing Conan O'Brien, this is who I am.

By Victor N.