The Improv Launches First Brand Campaign in Comedy Club’s History

Creative Agency Here Be Dragons Launches Integrated “Shoulda’ Been There” Campaign to Drive Awareness for Iconic Brand

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Comedy “OG” The Improv today launches its first brand campaign in the comedy club’s 60-year history. Developed and executed by San Francisco creative agency Here Be Dragons, this national campaign, “Shoulda’ Been There,” was designed to drive brand awareness and audience consideration while celebrating America’s premier comedy club chain.

“We couldn’t be more excited to launch our first brand campaign with a simple but compelling idea that we think will resonate with everyone,” said Robert Barbieri, VP of Brand Strategy and Marketing. “The Here Be Dragons team pinpointed the precise emotional insight that laughter heals so much of what ails us as humans and created a campaign to remind us all that the best laughs are had in the presence of others.”

“Shoulda’ Been There” taps the cultural fear we all know as “FOMO” and turns it hilariously on its head to celebrate live comedy and the brand delivering it better than anyone for more than six decades. By underscoring the importance and satisfaction of being part of a “happening moment,” the new campaign reminds viewers that the laughs are better when they’re fresh and had in the company of others. These are the kind of genuine connections that just aren’t possible when streaming Netflix comedy specials or scrolling through TikTok clips on your couch.

“The Improv Comedy Club has long been the industry’s standard bearing brand and this campaign was created to build on and celebrate that,” said Eric Dunn, Executive Director, Here Be Dragons. “We zeroed in on a simple human truth and built an idea that tapped into the joy of a good laugh. We think ‘Shoulda’ Been There’ will help The Improv clubs around the country inspire anyone who needs to share a good ‘in the moment’ laugh with others right now.”

Here Be Dragons recruited an accomplished integrated production team to bring the new campaign to life in a way that balanced a feeling of realness with the sense of heightened reality that comes from any great comedy show. Renowned celebrity photographer Andrew Eccles was tasked with capturing the essence of the brand during a photo shoot on location at the legendary Hollywood Improv. And prominent comedy director Jeremy Nachbar, whose relatable storytelling and training at Second City in Chicago was key to capturing performances from the acting team, was tasked with the critical TV and video components.

“The campaign's creative direction taps into the emotions of FOMO by intentionally not letting the viewer in on the joke,” said Ken Hall, Executive Creative Director, Here Be Dragons. “Only pieces are retold by those who were lucky enough to be there. Because the only thing worse than the fear of missing out is hearing about the great time you could've had from those who didn't.”

Here Be Dragons was selected this spring to guide brand strategy and creative for the comedy giant’s first fully integrated brand campaign, which runs across streaming TV platforms, digital billboards, audio platforms, digital display, and paid social through December 15th. TV runs on platforms including Hulu, Peacock, and YouTube TV and across networks like A&E, Discovery, ABC, ESPN, and Fox. Audio runs on Spotify and iHeartRadio. Outdoor appears in 21 markets, including Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, and the Bay Area. Digital placements appear across sites like ESPN, CNN, Rolling Stone, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

About Here Be Dragons
Proud to be an independent San Francisco-based creative agency, Here Be Dragons provides a nimble and collaborative full-service approach to campaign development. The agency’s award-winning services are delivered via a thoughtful set of strategic approaches that break down agency/client/partner silos. All in service of fostering the development of storytelling ecosystems and deployment of attention-grabbing creative work that achieves outsized business results.

About The Improv
For sixty years, Improv Comedy Clubs have remained the premier stages for live comedy in the United States. Over the decades, the talent who have graced Improv stages represent the Who’s Who in American comedy, including Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, Lily Tomlin, Freddie Prinze, Andy Kaufman, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Dane Cook, Ellen DeGeneres, Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler, Jeff Dunham and Dave Chappelle. Today, the Improv stage continues to be the most important live venue for new comedians. Acquired in early 2018 by Levity Live, the Improv currently operates 23 locations across the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Miami and Washington, D.C. For more information visit

Media contact:
Michelle Musburger
Strike Communications