The Seinfeld Method: A Guide to Video and Content Marketing

If you grew up in the 90s, you’d remember the Seinfeld TV show. To this day, episodes are available on various streaming services so you can revisit your past. Or for the younger generation to experience a completely different era.

The hit comedy show starred Jerry Seinfeld playing himself as the main character. The semi-fiction story, created by Seinfeld and Larry David, aired on NBC from 1989 to 1998. It became one of the most popular and successful sitcoms of all time. Although the last episode aired 22 years ago, the creators of the show are still making bank to this very day.

It has been estimated that syndication royalties have amounted to $3.1 billion, which continues to grow every year. A few years ago, Hulu bought streaming rights to the show for $180 million – a substantial sum for a show that dates back to the 90s.

When it comes to the TV show, Seinfeld has treated it as a franchise. It’s still paying him decades later. The way he’s branded it means that he’ll be putting money in his pockets for a very long time. As you take a closer look, the success of the show is attributed to its content. As co-creators, Seinfeld and David knew how to create entertaining and informative content about “nothing”. There was no storyline. The show revolved around the smallest things.

After a long hiatus, one of the world’s best comedians chose to make a comeback. In 2012, after being out of action for 14 years, he surprised everyone with a new show. Many thought it wouldn’t live up to the standards set by his popular sitcom Seinfeld. However, he proved everyone wrong and showed that he was a video marketing and content marketing wizard.

With the new show, the idea was to involve antique cars and drive them while hanging out with other comedians. Every episode revolves around a drive and enjoying a coffee while breaking a few jokes. As the creator of one of the most successful TV shows of all time, any major television network would have produced his new show. But Seinfeld elected not to take this route. He chose to be original and created the internet series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Video marketing experts said it would fail. They all told Seinfeld that online audiences wouldn’t be able to pay attention for longer than 5 minutes. With no support from the big guys, Starbucks also rejected his sponsorship proposal. But Seinfeld didn’t stop there. He was optimistic in bringing his idea to life, proving everyone wrong. 

Shocking everyone in the entertainment industry, he chose to team up with Crackle – a small streaming service. Why did he do this? He wanted full creative control over his latest project. It was his passion, and he wasn’t going to let big networks modify his content.

The small streaming service gave him all the freedom and he took advantage of it. He created a hit internet series with fancy cars and awesome jokes from the world’s funniest people. Let’s take a look at how he pulled it off with video marketing and content marketing.

Video Marketing

Since it launched in 2012, “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” has amassed over 70 million views, won several awards and received two Emmy nominations. And he did it through streaming on the internet, passing on national television. Here are some of the secrets to his video marketing success:

1. Be Human

Sitcoms in the 50s to 90s were way too scripted. There was no sense of honesty. After years of fake media, today’s online viewers want to watch what’s going on in real life. Real stories about real people.

Being human is powerful. When you’re honest and vulnerable, as well as show your humor and interest in telling stories, you’ll stand out from others. That’s why Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is getting a ton of attention. It’s diverted from the conventional methods of video marketing with planned scripts and plots. It’s in line with the new era, which is telling your story and being authentic.

In his latest internet series, Seinfeld often talks about his own relationships. Throughout the show, you’ll see Jerry doing this. In an episode with Ali Wentworth, he spoke about marriage and having arguments with your spouse. He also openly talks about one of his biggest fears – when people don’t think he’s funny when he’s on stage.

When he tells true stories about himself and not the part the whole world knows about, it reveals a compassionate side. It reveals humanity. Everyone knows he is a major success, but what we often miss out on is that successful people struggle too. There are dreams, doubts, passions, and fears.

If you’re planning to use video for your marketing campaign, think about honesty and transparency. Tell a story about your life, your company, your vision, and your team. Show your audience the tough times you’ve been through as well as milestones you’ve reached. Don’t forget to BE HUMAN!

2. Constant Movement

During an interview with David Letterman, Seinfeld sat down with him and revealed one of his secrets. Using this technique, he’s able to keep his online audience engaged. What was the secret? Having constant movement.

“Part of what makes the show watchable is that it’s always moving. There’s no narrative [to] drive the story. We know what happens. We know they’re going to get coffee. You need a kinetic energy to move it along,” Seinfeld said. “Moving people around keeps them awake.”

The show centers around conversations taking place during a drive or while enjoying a cup of coffee. There are no special effects, nothing fancy.

Here’s a compilation of the best of Season 11. Notice the constant movement in every single frame:


If you’re not sure about what movement is, it covers any physical movement, movement in frames due to changing camera angles, and so on. With constant movement, your audience’s eyes continue to stay alert as there’s something to always take note of. Whether it’s a change in scenery, a shot getting zoomed in; these movements capture your audience’s attention.

3. Do What You Want To Do

When you hear the title “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, it sounds too long. Moreover, it doesn’t sound interesting at all. Even the video marketing experts disagreed with the length of the episode claiming that audiences wouldn’t be engaged. But they were all wrong. What you might not be aware of is that most people are usually wrong. It’s people with courage and a vision who will find success. 

His new show was unique. There was nothing out there like it, which was typical for Seinfeld. He never wanted to be like everyone else.

At the time when Seinfeld was a hit sitcom, there was no other show like it. If you’re going to market a new brand, it should be original and have its own personality. Looking at the greatest success stories, they are not copycats. They are original ideas that take the world by a storm.


Content Marketing

1. Jokes are supposed to be funny, not insulting

“If it’s offensive and not funny, it’s not a joke.” – Jerry Seinfeld

His video marketing prowess is no doubt, but let’s also take a look at his content marketing. Many brands and companies often go too far with their jokes. In the end, they have to stop campaigns and issue apologies. According to Seinfeld, you’ve got to be careful with how you formulate your jokes and present them. The main objective is to make people laugh, not hurt their feelings.    

If you’re looking to inject humor into your campaign, all content must be thoughtfully planned. The target audience and your one key fan should be taken into account. If you know who your product is for, there’s a smaller possibility of offending them. On top of that, you should also get feedback from a diverse group of people. Everyone has their own opinion, so it would help to hear their voices before you put your joke out there.  

2. Nothing works forever

You turned down an offer from NBC of $5 million an episode to do one more season of “Seinfeld.” Nobody in TV has ever made even close to that money before or since. Did you ever second-guess that decision? 

No. It was the perfect moment, and the proof that it was the right moment is the number of questions you’re still asking me about it. The most important word in art is “proportion.” How much? How long is this joke going to be? How many words? How many minutes? And getting that right is what makes it art or what makes it mediocre.

Seinfeld refused to do another season of his hit sitcom. As he realized that no one could stay on top forever, he decided to take a break from the scene and wait for his next big idea. He could have easily accepted the money and done another season, but his decision was not motivated by the millions. The passionate person in him wanted to walk away while he was still on top. He didn’t want to risk stretching the show on and on until it became too draggy to watch.   

When it comes to content marketing, just because something worked before, it doesn’t mean it will again. Always try to look for new methodologies and be innovative. People are constantly changing, so should your content. 

3. Structure is key

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is an extremely random show. It involves driving in cars, drinking coffee, and real-life conversations with famous comedians. For every episode, there’s a structure that Seinfeld follows. And he follows this structure strictly. This is how an episode unfolds: 

  • Jerry introduces the car that he’ll be driving
  • He calls his guest and asks him or her out for coffee
  • He gives a background story of the guest
  • He picks up the guest 
  • They go for a drive while talking comedy
  • They stop for coffee and food
  • They enjoy a short stroll
  • They drive back

With a strict structure, it’s easier to for all production stages. It makes things more simple for planning, shooting, and editing. In terms of content marketing, consistency helps with branding as audiences know what to expect. 

4. Repurpose content

In Seinfeld’s latest passion project, the episodes often combine clips from various episodes. The clips would center around the same subject. The topics are usually very random, from car breakdowns to kids, to crafting jokes, all the way to their opinion on David Letterman.

Because of the way the episodes are shot, his team can repurpose content. From time to time, the same themes will come up in other episodes, and you’ll see a clip from earlier seasons.

When producing content for your marketing, don’t throw away the parts that you don’t end up using for the latest campaign. You might be able to recycle them in the future. Not only does it save time and effort, you never know that it might be relevant to a future project.  

5. Work with influential people

Seinfeld’s hit sitcom went off the air in 1998. He decided to take a break and only made a comeback in 2012. When he resurfaced, he might have lost the influence he once had. Moreover, he was catering to a new generation, which is why working with influential people has been a huge part of his success. 

His selection of comedians to guest star in his show is extremely crucial. Essentially, it is influencer marketing. He joins forces with the most popular and influential comedians. Not to mention, he also invites politicians with a good sense of humor. He’s had Barack Obama in one of his episodes!

His guests include more senior and established talk show hosts such as David Letterman and Jay Leno. But they are not only limited to them. He also invites newcomers such as Amy Schumer and YouTuber Miranda Sings. 

If you’re marketing your product, try to reach your audience by collaborating with influential people. They don’t have to be celebrities, but someone that can influence your target audience. 

6. Market your passion

It’s obvious that Seinfeld loves the 3 C’s – cars, coffee, and comedy. Audiences can clearly see that he enjoys what he’s doing with this show. When it comes to content marketing, you can’t fake passion. When you’re passionate about something, people are more interested in hearing about what you have to say. And they’d also be more interested in buying from you.    

As you’re planning your content, think about what led you here in the first place. Share that story with the world! 



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