SNL Farrow & Ball send-up prompts speedy and clever NYT ad


Upmarket British paint brand, Farrow & Ball, has responded brilliantly to a parody commercial broadcast recently on hit US show Saturday Night Live (SNL).

The Dorset-based firm’s new agency BMB seized on the moment by ordering its own tongue-in-cheek full-page ad in the New York Times. 

Kristen Stewart sketch

In the SNL sketch which aired 3 November spotted by Farrow & Ball President, based in the US: comedienne Aidy Bryant shows off her freshly painted home to her brother and sister-in-law, played by SNL regular Beck Bennet and guest host actress Kristen Stewart.

Holding a can of Farrow & Ball paint, Bryant explained: “It’s the high end British paint company that offers unparalleled depth and col-our…. It’s not just paint, it’s Farrow & Ball.”

Despite not being a commercial product placement, the paint brand is referenced numerous times throughout the 4min 18sec piece. 

Pompous pronunciations

Stewart points out that Bryant’s character is pronouncing colour “like the word color but with a ‘u’ in it” which then kicks off a series of gags with exaggerated pompous pronunciation such as “He just wants me to live in squa-lor”.

Tactical ad 

Matt Lever, Creative Partner at BMB, Farrow & Ball’s newly appointed London creative agency said, “We felt a tactical ad in a key New York weekend paper was the answer.”

Total glam-our: F&B’s new agency starts spreading the news in style adter SNL sketch

BMB booked a full page New York Times ad for Farrow & Ball, to directly answer the SNL sketch, announcing a new “Saturday Night Live special edition col-our!”

Named as “English Roast No. 30”, the colour is described in the ad as: “A rich and good hum-oured hue with subtle hints of bone-dry satire and a lingering aftertaste of charred British beef. It’s not just paint, it’s Farrow & Ball.”

Anthony Davey, CEO at Farrow & Ball explained: “After we saw the show and put it on our socials, Kent Sublette, who is a senior writer at Saturday Night Live SNL tweeted back: ‘Couldn’t have written this unless I truly loved Farrow & Ball!’ 

“And in his tweet he’s got a picture of a collection of Farrow & Ball sample pots. And says, ‘Thanks for having a sense of hu-mour!’ so he’s apparently a customer of ours!” 

Now in its 45th season, Saturday Night Live plays to audiences of more than six million, with many more watching sketches online afterwards.

Speed of response 

Lever said: “The advertisement was turned around in just one day. The key to any tactical ad is speed. It only seemed right for a British brand to use light-hearted British wit in the ad. 

“Whilst Farrow & Ball doesn’t always use jokes in their creative, it is still a warm and human brand. Embracing humour is just another facet of that.” 

As a big fan of SNL, Lever added: “Like most Brits we are aware of how big SNL is as a show and the importance of it in US comedy, it’s birthed some of my favourite actors.”