Brands push back against ‘Saturday Night Live’ caricatures

Being the target of parody can be humiliating or even damaging for your brand. What is the right way to combat negative stereotypes about you in pop culture?

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When is it OK for a brand to say a joke has gone too far?

When should a brand defend itself when it has become a comedian’s target—or, in a pair of recent cases, the target of America’s most popular sketch comedy show, “Saturday Night Live”?

Two brands—Safelite and Aer Lingus—took different approaches to responding to the show’s jibes.

SNL has a history of making fun of brands who find themselves in the news based on negative news coverage. For example, no one seemed to care—and Wells Fargo didn’t protest—last season when SNL went after the bank and its practice of opening fraudulent accounts on its customers’ behalf.

The big difference for Aer Lingus and Safelite was that they hadn’t transgressed before becoming SNL’s target. Rather, they were just convenient.


In a sketch that aired in October, cast member Beck Bennett played a Safelite technician who is overly interested in a customer’s teenage daughter, continually breaking a family’s car window so he can continue seeing the daughter.

The brand took exception, and voiced its displeasure on Twitter:

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