Jeff Sperber ran a local television commercial for his Huck Finn’s Warehouse Outlet. He ended up with national exposure on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
O’Brien, seen locally on WNYT, Channel 13, talked Thursday about the Albany furniture store for three minutes. He liked Sperber’s latest advertising promotion, in which local furniture fans have been asked to produce their own, 30-second Finn commercial. The winner gets a $500 gift certificate for store merchandise, a train ride to New York City and two tickets for a “Late Night” taping.
“Which are free, by the way,” said O’Brien.
The comic especially appreciated a line in the Huck Finn contest rules that states: “If, for any reason, the Conan O’Brien Show is taken off the air or is no longer being taped, an alternate prize will be awarded.”
“Thanks a lot, Huck Finn,” he said, sarcastically.
Sperber said a member of the “Late Night” production team was in the area in late May and spotted the advertisement. He said show staff later asked permission to joke around about the store’s quest for videos and choice of prizes.
O’Brien did Sperber another favor by “stealing” the concept behind the promotion. He asked his viewers to submit their own 30-second commercials advertising the merits of “Late Night.” The winner will receive the opportunity to shop at the NBC company store — with a 25 percent employee discount — and bus fare to Albany to visit Huck Finn’s on Erie Boulevard.
O’Brien showed clips of store merchandise, taken from the Huck Finn Web site, and included a photo of guns and knives — which the store does not carry. Conan — or his writers — managed to jab the local business with one more joke.
“If Huck Finn’s furniture warehouse burns down, or for any reason should cease to exist, an alternate prize will be awarded,” he said.
Sperber, who called such national exposure “priceless,” e-mailed O’Brien with a jab of his own.
“I said, ‘If things don’t work out, we might have an opening for you in our ammo department,'” he said. “We’re trying to keep it going back and forth.”