A lesson on divergence from Jimmy Fallon

If you visit the YouTube welcome page for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon you are greeted by a funny welcome video.

We’re big fans of Jimmy Fallon here at Of the Sea because he does a masterful job with divergence.

Watch for yourself.

Divergence – a deviation from a course or standard (Merriam-Webster)

Here’s a list of the skits they showed in order:

  1. J-Lo – singing a goofy (Will Ferrel inspired) song
  2. Brian Williams – Edited to create “Rapper’s Delight”
  3. Will Smith – Evolution of hip hop dancing
  4. Kevin Spacey – Barbershop quartet singing a modern day R&B song
  5. Kevin Hart – Screaming on a roller coaster
  6. Tina Fey – “Lip Flips” with Jimmy
  7. Morgan Freeman – On helium… enough said
  8. Emma Stone – Lip sync battle with a rap song

They crammed each of these skits into one minute of footage.

Your brain races to catch up because they stack divergence on top of divergence.

It’s not just Kevin Spacey singing in a barber shop quartet, they have them singing a song suitable for a nightclub.

Broca’s area might as well toss in the towel because you’re glued as your brain processes what is going on.

Oh, and you only get 7 second to process that skit before they moved onto the next in this teaser video.

The last two minutes of the video are a clever ask. They want you to subscribe but they do a masterful job with it.

Social Proof:

You can hear the audience laughing as Jimmy banters along. I highly doubt this video was shot in front of a live audience. The laughter is added in postproduction as a social cue to us that this is comical.

Ego-Depletion

Wikipedia says, “This refers to the idea that self-control or willpower draw upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up.”

In this instance Jimmy continues to be his usual goofy (likable) self for two minutes. Intermittently he’ll ask you to subscribe because if he asks enough, his chances improve greatly. We only have so much willpower!

His humor keeps you watching and ego depletion gets the people on the fence to subscribe.

At the end of the day, a very large part of advertising is the ability to grab and hold attention.

Jimmy Fallon is a master of that.