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Sponsors Get the Joke at TBS Festival

TBS calls its annual Chicago comedy festival Just for Laughs, but it’s for sponsors too.

State Farm is the presenting sponsor of the festival, which starts June 12. Also signed on are M&M’s candies, KFC, MillerCoors and Icelandic Water. “Just for Laughs is a great platform,” says Dennis Adamovich, senior VP of brand and digital activation/ general manager of festivals for TCM, TBS and TNT. “We take our advertisers on-air and articulate them in the Chicago market along with our festival.”

For State Farm, TBS will have street teams out and about in the city encouraging people to “Get to a Better State,” through free pedicab rides, portable charging stations for electronic devices, ticket giveaways and seat upgrades. M&M’s and KFC will get sampling and signage, while MillerCoors brands will be available in green rooms, giving celebrities access to them.

The festival is also good for TBS and its late-night star, Conan O’Brien. “It is a great extension of the brand. It articulates who we are as a funny brand,” says Adamovich. “We are a broader-based comedy network, and this allows us to show people what that means, from Conan’s show, to Vince Vaughn performing, to the Team Coco writers doing a live performance at the broadband show, to us doing an up-and-comers event to try to fi nd the next wave of talent.”

Beyond doing his shows in the Chicago Theatre this week, Turner will install machines around Chicago that will give away free Conan T-shirts to people who have the code number aired during the previous night’s broadcast. The shirts feature fan art of O’Brien created by local artists.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.