Funny or Die is going commercial by, well, creating commercials.
The Adam McKay and Will Ferrell brainchild, which had a humble start in 2007 (featuring videos of drunken landlord babies) and then exploded into a celebrity-laden viral video machine, is launching a division called Gifted Youth that is entirely dedicated to making real advertisements.
While some products have been integrated into videos—like Emma Stone’s “ad” for iPhone murder apps—it wasn’t done to sell anything. So far, brands have served as excuses to make funny videos. Now they’re going to be the main event.
Chris Bruss, the vp/branded entertainment at Funny or Die who will helm Gifted Youth, told the New York Times that the division will give agencies and marketers the coveted opportunity to work with writers, directors, and maybe even actors who have worked with Funny or Die.
Advertising agencies are constantly trying to create the next big viral video. While once in a blue moon a client will sign off on Old Spice guy, let’s face it, moons are rarely blue and agencies are far more likely to make Mary J. Blige sing about fried chicken in a Burger King ad that is destined to get pulled.
Funny or Die, on the other hand, epically wins at viral content. For example, Will Ferrell’s local Super Bowl ads for Milwaukee beer—spawned from a deal that Pabst made with Funny or Die in 2010—got more Twitter mentions than $3.5 million national Super Bowl spots for Cadillac, Century 21, CareerBuilder, Lexus, and Hulu.
But everyone shouldn’t start dancing in the street just yet. While Funny or Die is good at creating funny content, it’s a whole other ball game when you have a client that’s going to have to approve content every step of the way. Who’s really going to be able to tell Will Ferrell, for example, what he can and can’t say? We’re also anticipating that agencies, who just love working/competing with new creatives on the block, will be butting heads with Gifted Youth.
The new ad shop had a soft launch during TNT’s slam dunk contest during the NBA All-Star weekend by airing a Kia commercial starring Blake Griffin and actor Jeff Goldblum. Gifted Youth also just released spots for New Era baseball caps in which comedians Nick Offerman and Craig Robinson fight over their respective love for the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Socks. (This is a continuation of last year’s ads in which John Krasinski and Alec Baldwin feud about the Red Socks and the Yankees).
Here’s the New Era commercial:
And here’s the Kia spot:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.