A Business Lesson From Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel
Feb 11th, 2013

By Paul Cowley, Founder, CEO, & Creative Director

Topic(s) Covered: Paul's Notes, Advertising

While on my treadmill the other day I heard an interesting interview on NPR’s Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross. 

Terry's guest that day was Jimmy Kimmel, the late night talk show host. I've been hearing his name quite a lot lately, so made up my mind to find out what all the fuss was about.

The Jimmy Kimmel Story

Turns out our man Kimmel got his start in radio, got fired a few times, and then moved to cable in 1999 where he and co-host Adam Carol created the now famous Man Show on Comedy Central.

Kimmel explained, "Everything we did was a joke, but people took us seriously so because of it I ended up with a reputation for being mean. It was all just a joke!” he said. He went on to talk about how much of a blast the show was to do and how he and Adam got along, etc.

Then Terry commented on the nice job he did paying tribute to David Letterman. 

Up until then, my feeling on this Kimmel guy was, "Here's yet another person ‘they’ want me to pay attention to. I have already too much information coming in; I don't need any more, especially from some guy from The Man Show! Right?” So I made a point to just tune him out. Then he shows up on Fresh Air. I just can't get away from this guy. But I'm starting to like what I'm hearing.

Kimmel begins his response about Letterman by bring us back to when he was a kid next to a little B&W TV in his bedroom.  Night after night he’d be totally mesmerized by this funny man named David Letterman. He and his friends ever mimicked the show for anyone who would listen.

He went on to say how much he admired the guy, and how "hands down Letterman was best late night show guy, ever!" This in spite of the fact that Letterman (CBS) airs opposite from Kimmel (ABC) in the same time slot, which is also opposite Jay Leno (NBC).

David Letterman on Jimmy KimmelKimmel’s Business Lesson

This kid Kimmel has come a long way and is in real good company. So I guess I was a little taken aback when he kept going on and on how great Letterman is – how he was the best ever: never has or ever will be any one like him in all of showbiz! Kimmel was as genuine as anyone person could be complimenting another.

All of a sudden I'm really starting to like this guy. I'm thinking, “I'll bet he's got a real interesting show. Maybe I'll record it!”

Then it hit me clear as a bell: if you want people to like you start liking other people! If you want to make a sale, start complimenting your competitors!

See, I realized I started liking Kimmel because of his confidence and sincerity. His enthusiasm for his competitor only said to me, that he (Kimmel) must be fantastic!

Think back to the last time you talked about your competitor. I think there's a lesson to be learned here, at least there was for me.


Check out Jimmy Kimmel paying tribute to Letterman here, then tell us what you think on our Facebook Page.

Paul Cowley

About The Author

Paul's genius is to see the connections, relationships and meanings that others miss, and then weave them into breathtaking creative strategies and graphic design concepts. Nothing short of an alchemist, Paul routinely blows us away. As a pioneer of forward thinking at the agency, he routinely challenges us to think of fresh, contemporary ways to position our client's messages to reach their intended audiences. Paul's work has garnered myriad awards during his 35+ years in advertising and he is committed to bringing that level of quality to each client's vision.

Paul Cowley - Founder, President, & Creative Director

Paul Cowley

Founder, President, & Creative Director


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