MEDIA PROFILE: The Daily Show's news coverage always gets the joke- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's loyal viewers make it a seriousplayer in the PR game...

If you plan to pitch Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon

Stewart, your client had better have a sense of humor. Just ask the

folks at the Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

Earlier this year, the makers of Cottonelle brand bathroom tissue were

in the midst of a campaign promoting a revolutionary breakthrough -

Cotton-elle Fresh Rollwipes, pre-moistened toilet paper. Cottonelle's PR

machine forwarded prototypes to media outlets across the country,

including The Daily Show. After all, the show is a legitimate Peabody

Award-winning news outlet. Well, actually, it's a Peabody Award-winning

news "parody" show, which Cottonelle apparently wasn't aware of.

In typical Daily Show fashion, producers sent a correspondent to the

steps of Cottonelle's headquarters to report the gripping story as it


"The joke was that this new invention was more important than President

Bush's speech," says Stewart Bailey, supervising producer at The Daily

Show. "So, we kept interrupting the show with the personal testimony of

the correspondent."

If Cottonelle execs felt like the butt of the joke, they weren't


After all, for the nominal price of a media kit, they'd tapped into a

large, and incredibly loyal audience.

"They sent this to us as a straight news story and got an enormous

amount of coverage," says Bailey. "But, we had to do it on our


Six producers and four researchers huddle at lively pitch meetings held

weekly. Due to the sharply irreverent nature of the segments, The Daily

Show is not exactly the easiest show to pitch, so you've got to think

outside the PR box. Though they don't solicit pitches, they do accept

them, preferably in tape format.

Product placement is often the best way to garner coverage - as long as

your client's product is absurd, or at the very least, highly


It also doesn't hurt to have a timely news hook to hang your pitch


Recently, the Family & Culture Institute took issue with a Minute Maid

commercial depicting cartoon characters Popeye and Pluto reconciling

their differences because of orange juice.

"Basically, they felt there was some kind of latent homosexual

conspiracy embedded in the commercial, so we just took that and ran with

it," says Bailey. "We traced the history of orange juice and its use as

a tool to recruit into the ranks of homosexuals."

Despite what appears at times to be inherently risque and irreverent

material, Daily Show producers don't take their First Amendment rights

too seriously. "Minute Maid was complicit, but if they had not been, we

might have treated the segment differently," says Bailey. "We make sure

we are not too offensive. We don't make false claims and we don't use

material that would cost us our jobs."

There's no question, you've got to be creative when pitching the


And as it's a news parody show, you should be aware of current events,

especially politics, to be able to recognize a potential plug for your


Obviously, A-list celebrities making the rounds are a big part of the

show. However, one of The Daily Show's charms is its every-man


At press time producers for the show were working on a segment focusing

on President Bush's energy plan.

"The whole sentiment of Bush's policy is that America is blessed with

ample resources, and it is not only our right, but our duty as Americans

to use up as much energy as we can," says Bailey.

So, they found a woman who lives out on a highway, and in order for her

to get to the grocery store, which is located directly across the

highway, she must take an hour-long car drive every day. "We plan to

portray her as an unwitting national hero," says Bailey.

Like most news-related shows, there's always a need for expert


"We recently had a guy in Las Vegas who does a mouth douche with grape

juice to rid his body of saliva," says Bailey. "So, we asked ear, nose

and throat doctor Harold Bloom, who really is an authority. What was

great about this interview was that both sides took themselves so



The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Address: 1775 Broadway, 10th floor

New York, NY 10019

Tel: (212) 468-1700

Fax: (212) 468-1890

Supervising producer: Stewart Bailey

Booker: Hank Gallow

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