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Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

ABC Campaign Calls on Viewers to Help Save Its Own Show

Here’s an interesting twist on the “low-rated cult favorite on life support” trend: the ABC network has created an ad campaign urging fans of its admired but struggling sitcom Happy Endings to help save the show by…you know, watching it live.

It’s almost like a mirror image of the challenge faced by critics’ favorites 30 Rock and Community, whose stars Tina Fey and Joel McHale accused NBC (in classic passive-aggressive style) of failing to properly promote their shows. In those cases, the actors themselves encouraged fans to voice their support via grassroots social media campaigns.

Of course this isn’t really groundbreaking public relations news, but it’s interesting because we’ve never heard of a network pulling a marketing move like this before — and something tells us that it will become more common as the TV business model changes to keep up with every other form of content distribution. Here’s the spot:

There’s also a hashtag and some funny tweets:

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More Brands That Jumped on the Avatar Bandwagon (or Should Have)

Yesterday we posted on Bud Light‘s well-timed decision to offer Facebook fans its own variation on the very viral Human Rights Campaign marriage equality avatar. Now we’d like to showcase some other examples of brands that were, if not quite “bold”, at least attuned to news trends — and the interests of their target audiences. Here are some more branded variations on the avatar:

Equal artificial sweetener: We can’t confirm that the brand itself created this one, but if they didn’t then they certainly missed out on a great opportunity.

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Oreo Agency 360i Just Won HBO’s Social Media Account

Today AdAge brings news that 360i, the digital agency responsible for all those creative Oreo tweets you’ve read so much about this year, will now handle social media marketing for HBO — and this right after we posted on how Game of Thrones always has the best promo swag!

The premium cable giant, which brought its social operations in-house in 2007, chose 360i to create campaigns designed to stir the buzz among fans online. The agency’s team will rep HBO at the same time as the folks at Campfire, the NYC firm responsible for creating several innovative fan engagement campaigns on the channel’s behalf. According to an internal release, Campfire’s latest work for HBO involved the second annual “pledge your allegiance” campaign promoting the release of season 2 on DVD this February.

Click through for a case study video of the release date event, complete with awesome ice sculpture:

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Game of Thrones Still Has the Best Swag

We don’t know if you guys are crazy excited about the third-season premier of HBO‘s mega-hit Game of Thrones, which is less than a week away — but we are!

You may have heard earlier this year (or in 2011 via our sister site AgencySpy) about how GoT‘s marketing/PR teams are absolutely the best, but we’d like to take a moment to remind you why that’s true (and encourage you to check out this awesome print ad one more time). This year the GoT folks followed up on their promo winning streak and even took it up a notch by sending customized “kits” to various celebrities, aka “opinion leaders”, each of whom seemed to follow up by hyping the show on social:

We’re not sure what’s in these boxes besides Season 1 and 2 DVDs and some other assorted goodies, but does that even matter? And have you checked out the totally awesome Join the Realm site, where you can create your own family arms?

Here’s the lesson of this story:

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Sheryl Sandberg’s PR Push: Can Career Women Also Be Working Moms?

Photo by Jakub MosurConfession: we haven’t read Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg‘s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and we probably won’t. But we are very interested in the fierce debate that her recent press tour/PR push has ignited over the role of women in the workplace and the executive suite. It seems to be the most controversial media issue since every single journalist/blogger in the world debated the merits of HBO‘s Girls. We also think it’s relevant to a PR industry that is approximately 70% female.

Why? Because an increasing number of top PR firms will be led by women in the coming years. Sandberg’s thesis as we understand it is that the corporate world (including public relations) has made the act of being both a successful mother and a successful businesswoman incredibly difficult. She argues that success tends to lead to resentment but that, by resisting the urge to lead or “lean in”, many women limit their career opportunities in PR and other fields.

A significant portion of the public feels the same way.

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Game of Thrones Proves Print Ads Aren’t Dead (and Neither Are Dragons)

In case you missed it (because we somehow did!), HBO ran a massive Game of Thrones ad in last Monday’s New York Times. At first glance, this spot may have sent readers ducking for cover or calling out for the nearest sword-wielding resident of Winterfell.

Game of Thrones New York Times

We’d say this promo campaign, complete with fictional stories that ran parallel with the show’s plot points and an ominous dragon shadow splayed across two pages of newsprint, proves that newspaper advertising can still generate some serious buzz when it’s done right.

Of course, HBO isn’t relying on print alone for its major GoT marketing campaign; in a follow-up to the NYT ad, the premium cable giant decided to take the duck-and-cover dragon shadow to the next level by featuring the image on the facade of its own Los Angeles high-rise last Tuesday.

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What’s ‘Native Advertising’ All About, Anyway?

Native advertising: you’ve heard the term, and you’re going to hear it quite often in the months ahead. We haven’t directly addressed it on this blog yet, so here goes:

First: any web surfer will tell you that banner ads (aka “traditional paid media”) are on the way out. They do provide “impressions” or glances, but very few people actually click them.

A debate on the topic within the PR industry has all but resolved itself at this point: integrated or “native” spots created through “brand journalism” are part of the PR/marketing landscape along with “sponsored” tweets and the like. They’re here to stay, and PR teams need to start creating more of them ASAP or they’ll find themselves replaced by other third-party content creators and media buyers. (Here’s a great post on the issue from our friends at Spin Sucks.)

Right. But what does “native” mean, exactly? Well, this Mashable infographic made our heads hurt, so we’ll give you a better example: Check out The Awl, a sort of literary/culture blog that happens to be one of our favorite web destinations. Scroll down the page a bit and you’ll come across at least one post that looks slightly different than the rest (they’re usually hosted on a grey background and filed under the “sponsored stories” heading).

These are stories commissioned and created by brands like Pillsbury, HBO, Samsung, and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. These brands (and the firms that represent them) want to court members of The Awl’s audience, and they came up with a good way to do so: create original content that complements the site’s existing stories.

It’s fairly simple, really:

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Girls, Urban Outfitters Want to Pay Your Rent for a Year

HBO's GirlsThis week marks the return of HBO‘s Girls (and the many, many articles telling us why we should love it, hate it or stop complaining about it). We don’t really have too many feelings about the show one way or the other, but we would like to point out the creative promo contest dreamed up by HBO and Urban Outfitters:

The two brands, which happen to have similar Millennial (and, let’s face it, largely female) target audiences, will provide one lucky winner with a full apartment makeover and a year’s worth of free rent–all fans have to do is follow both accounts on Twitter and tweet Instagram shots of themselves in their totally awesome apartments along with the hashtag #UOxGIRLS to enter! (We would mention that said “makeover” is really just a $5000 gift certificate to Urban Outfitters, but hey–ironic t-shirts might double as wallpaper.)

Jezebel reminds us that the Girls themselves are way too concerned with “authenticity” to shop at UO and that HBO’s various product placement and promotional deals go against the show’s hyper-realistic, anti-consumerist tone.

This is probably true. But it’s still a pretty good idea for a campaign.

Game of Thrones Fans: Winter (Ale) Is Coming!

HBO Game of ThronesEarlier this week we told you that we consider ourselves “unapologetic beer snobs“. A couple of equally important things we didn’t tell you:

  • We love HBO’s Game of Thrones
  • We think New York’s Ommegang Brewery makes some of America’s finest craft beer

And now two of our favorite things have joined forces in the name of marketing–it’s a Festivus miracle!

Today brings news that Ommegang will release a series of three custom beers to coincide with the third season of HBO’s hit, beginning with the premiere of Iron Throne Blonde Ale on March 31st. Ommegang’s rep said: “The collaboration between Ommegang and HBO is focused on developing unique beers that directly tie into themes, characters and nuances of the medieval-like fantasy realm of Westeros and the surrounding kingdoms, where the competition to sit on the Iron Throne is fierce and deadly.”

Whatever, man. We just know how great it will taste.

(Oh, and thanks to WebProNews, whose headline we totally nicked for this post.)

Beyoncé to Direct, Star in HBO Documentary About Herself

BeyonceToday we reach new heights of self-promotion in the entertainment world: HBO just announced the February premiere of an “intimate, revealing”, as-yet-untitled documentary feature starring and directed by jack-of-all-trades Beyoncé.

The HBO group’s press release describes the film as “a fusion of video that provides raw, unprecedented access to the private entertainment icon and high-voltage performances”, so we’re guessing it will combine in-concert clips with more personal footage of fans passing out a la Bieber’s Never Say Never. HBO programming president Michael Lombardo says the pic will allow us to look “beyond the glamour to reveal a vibrant, vulnerable, unforgettable woman”, and we take this to mean that the film will be a little less…arthritic than the channel’s recent dried-prunes-and-fiber-supplements Rolling Stones doc.

So one of pop’s biggest superstars announces her debut full-length film project on the same day that she releases intimate pictures of a first Thanksgiving spent with her infant daughter (whose name will sadly never become a registered trademark). Hmm…Let’s just say we’re curious to see what sort of product Beyoncé looks to promote with this film–because these things never happen in a vacuum.

As long as it’s absolutely nothing like Madonna‘s Truth or Dare, we have a feeling she’ll be OK.

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