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Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

John Oliver Has Some Thoughts on Native Advertising

Different people in the media have very different opinions on native advertising. You may recall that Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker called the practice “a Faustian bargain” before his own paper jumped head-first into the trend by launching its own in-house native ad studio.

John Oliver laid out the terms of the debate on his increasingly impressive HBO show Last Week Tonight. If you have ten free minutes, this clip is worth a watch.


Of course, one of the funniest aspects of this extended rant is the seemingly legitimate paid promotion for Mountain Dew that appears between the three and four-minute marks. The fact that HBO ran a sponsored BuzzFeed post to promote this very show is also perfectly appropriate.

Yet therein lies the problem with Oliver’s rant: he has the funding and the independence to not only offer the public his (very strong) opinion on media trends but to also make fun of the very companies giving him money for a brief appearance on his high-brow television program.

99.9% of his colleagues in media do not have that option.

Still, he makes a great argument. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on Katy Perry.

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Adventures in Marketing: Dothraki Language Course Is a Real Thing

Living Language Dothraki_ A Conversational Language Course Based on the Hit Original HBO Series Game of Thrones(Paperback) Book | HBO ShopHave you ever wanted to ask out the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen, but were held back only by the language barrier? Never fear: Language Dothraki: A Conversational Language Course Based on the Hit Original HBO Series Game of Thrones is here.

A mouthful of a name? Sure. But so are most of the names in the book series and show. The new guide to Dothraki, compiled by acclaimed language and culture consultant David J. Peterson, features over 500 words and phrases, some of which were made up exclusively for the course, and will cover everything from vocabulary and grammar to pronunciation and cultural notes.

Three versions of the system (the basic package, the expanded online course, and one with a companion mobile app) will be available for your educational needs on October 7th, but all three are currently available for pre-order — because the marketers are no dummies, and likely wanted to ensure the promo was announced while the current season of the show was going strong. Read more

BAD PR: John Oliver’s GM Parody Highlights Real, Disturbing Details of Internal Company Practices

Let’s play a little game of word association, shall we? What comes to mind when you think of the following words: deathtrap; decapitating; grenade-like; powder keg; and rolling sarcophagus? If your answer to any of these is “a car made by General Motors,” then an internal GM memo specifically banning the use of these words (and over fifty others) must have failed.

This past Sunday on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver delivered a scathing breakdown of a decade’s worth of disturbing internal PR practices at GM, and then — as the final nail in the rolling sarcophagus — showed a pitch-perfect parody of a GM ad. And in case not enough people subscribe to HBO for this clip to contribute to the company’s already-sticky PR problem, the network has made the video available on YouTube (where it has already been watched almost 700,000 times).

Just like in Shakespeare, the fool often speaks the truth more boldly and honestly than anyone else, and in this case, while viewers may be laughing (we certainly are), they are most definitely not laughing with GM.

How Should HBO Respond to ‘Game of Thrones’ Controversy?

Game_of_Thrones_title_screen.png.CROP.promo-mediumlargeSince Sunday night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” aired, the internet has been abuzz with controversy over a decidedly disturbing scene that played out very differently in the show than it did in the books; what was written as an instance of consensual (yet creepy) sex played out on screen as an incredibly difficult-to-watch depiction of rape.

While many fans were angry that a character endowed with his own (strange) brand of honor had been re-written as capable of committing such a heinous, unforgivable act against a person he loves — and some wondered why the showrunners felt the need to make an already-disturbing scene so much more violent — all of this this would normally be a question of artistic license and therefore not discussed on a PR blog.

However, comments made by the show’s director Alex Graves have — if unintentionally — shifted the discussion from a touchy one about creative decision-making to a deeply serious one about our culture’s struggle with the definition and recognition of what rape actually is.

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HBO Goes All in on Hip-Hop Promo with ‘Rappers as Game of Thrones Characters’

Kanye

“…he is an a$$hole but is also very good at business and things…”

Did you hear that HBO wants to “diversify” the Game of Thrones audience? It’s true—and they didn’t stop at the mix tape.

In order to push the hip-hop/GoT connection as far as it can possibly go, the network’s promo team enlisted writer/watercolorist/man about town Shea Serrano to re-imagine top rappers as GoT characters on…

MySpace “Discover”. (It’s a thing.)

Go ahead and laugh, but Serrano definitely hit the mark on some of these.

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HBOGO Crashes During True Detective Finale, Awesome Tweets Abound

Once upon a time, one had to tune in to an actual channel on an actual television to catch a new episode of one’s favorite show. Then came apps on mobile devices that allowed us to catch up on the drama we missed wherever and whenever we wanted, but our culture of instant gratification was still not fully satisfied, so apps like HBOGO now allow us to watch new episodes as they air, no matter where we are–even if it’s just that we’re having a drink in the kitchen and don’t feel like dragging ourselves all the way to the living room to flip on the boob tube.

That is, until HBOGO crashes during the season finale of its new hit crime drama “True Detective.” Then, people turn around and use those mobile devices to send out angry (and hilarious) tweets. Here is just a sweet sampling of the smorgasbord of awesomeness to be read:

Meanwhile, others sort of saw it a different way, poking fun at their own expectations and sense of entitlement, rather than at the app’s failure. Read more

HBO Drops Beats and Rhymes into Game of Thrones Promos

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The sigil of House (Big) Boi

HBO wants more hip-hop heads and reggaeton lovers to watch Game of Thrones this season—and The Wall Street Journal is ON IT.

This Friday the network will drop a free mixtape featuring top rhymers ranging from Wale to Daddy Yankee, who riff on Seven Kingdoms themes in order to raise awareness of the show among more “multicultural” audiences (their word).

Unfortunately, Drake sat this one out; he was too busy firing his PR firm.

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Netflix to Amazon: ‘We’ve Got Bigger Drones Than That’

We appreciate Netflix’s efforts to play the “spunky upstart” role by poking fun at its rivals and we agree that Amazon makes for a more reasonable target than HBO, because you will lose if you try to compare House of Cards to The Sopranos or Game of Thrones. The drone delivery service spoof making its way around the Internets this morning isn’t the funniest thing ever, but it scores a couple of chuckles while confirming that Netflix doesn’t have either of its rivals’ production budgets.

The stunt mocking a stunt does make one good point: “rush[ing] unproven technology to market” could be the subheading of both the drone and “wearable” tech movements.

And when it comes to the Netflix browsing experience most of us know, The Onion offers a shockingly accurate summary:

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Can HBO’s Silicon Valley Improve Silicon Valley’s Reputation?

Yesterday HBO debuted the trailer for Mike Judge‘s sitcom Silicon Valley.

Looks like a Big Bang Theory/Workaholics mash-up: they’re nerds, but they aren’t one-dimensional punchlines; they’re Millennials, but they don’t spend all their time figuring out how they can manage to do less work.

In an amazing coincidence, Napster/Facebook guy Sean “Don’t Call Me Justin” Parker used the same weekend to offer a pitch-perfect demonstration of why SV may want to update its operating system.

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Lessons in Media Relations from Derek Jeter

Sure, Derek Jeter is a great athlete…but can he teach us anything about communications and media relations strategy?

Kwittken + Company CEO/friend of the site Aaron Kwittken’s most recent Forbes story says “yes”. In fact, Kwittken goes so far as to call the veteran shortstop “one of the greatest communicators of all time.”

His points:

  • Jeter sidestepped the sports media entirely by announcing his retirement on Facebook (which he primarily used to promote his charity in the past), prompting The Boston Globe to call him “the Yankee you can’t hate
  • When the frenzy around his search for that 3,000th hit got too hot in 2011, he turned not to ESPN but to HBO, which made a documentary about the story:

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