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Industry TV Channels/Radio Stations and Programmes
Media Promo & PR
Market United States
Agency PHD New York
Released August 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Experiential Marketing in a Promotional Campaign
Advertiser: HBO
Product/Service: TV SERIES
Agency: PHD
Date of First Appearance: Aug 23 2010
Entrant Company: HBO, New York, USA
Executive Vice President Consumer Marketing: Courteney Monroe (HBO)
Vice President Brand Marketing: Chris Spadaccini (HBO)
Director Advertising & Promotions: Sono Mitchell (HBO)
Associate Manager Advertising & Promotions: Pia Chaozon (HBO)
Coordinator Advertising & Promotions: Brooke Stone (HBO)
Media Agency & QR Code: (PHD)
Speakeasy Bar Activation: (Cornerstone)
Bus Shelter Creative: (BLT & Associates)
Media placement: Bus Shelter W/ QR Code - OOH NY, Chicago, LA, Philadelphia - 16 August, 2010
Media placement: Bar Activation - NY, LA, CHI, PHI - 23 August, 2010

Describe the objective of the promotion.
To launch the series premiere of the new, critically-acclaimed HBO series BOARDWALK EMPIRE, our goal was to position the show as an epic crime/period drama with marquee screenwriting and directorial talent, and powerful storytelling. Faced with fierce competition and high expectations, our challenge was to differentiate Boardwalk Empire from a cluttered landscape of contemporary crime/period dramas with a brand identity that was unique, exciting, and prestigious.

The key strategy was to surround and engage audiences by “turning back the clock,” bringing to life the era of Prohibition using promotions and partnerships thematically styled around the backdrop of Atlantic City, 1920.

Describe how the promotion developed from concept to implementation.
HBO developed several promotions that enabled viewers to experience themes of the show, both generating press coverage and further amplifying the message in the marketplace.

Partnering with speakeasy-style bars, HBO hosted exclusive blogger/tastemaker events in NY, LA, Chicago and Philadelphia. Event invitations were extended through weekly passwords via several outlets. Street-level outdoor placements featured QR codes on liquid displays that decreased in volume leading up to the season premiere. When scanned by a smartphone, the QR code linked to a password granting you a free drink and the address of the Prohibition Happy Hour taking place locally that week.

Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service.
The key strategy of the Speakeasy Promotion was to surround and engage audiences by "turning back the clock" and bringing to life Prohibition era using promotions and partnerships thematically constructed to evoke the period.

Developing organic, experiential partnerships with national brands, we raised awareness for the series, reaching consumers in speakeasy-style environments, which served to generate press coverage and further amplify the message in the marketplace.

Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results.
The Speakeasy Promotion gathered over 2,300 total interactions from QR scans, mobile web page hits and WAP site views, helping to build press buzz and gain national attention in anticipation of the premiere.

The series premiere of BOARDWALK EMPIRE had a grand opening Sunday, September 16, at 9pm with a 10.1/14 household rating and 4.8 million viewers – the best start for an HBO series since the 2004 premiere of Deadwood (which followed The Sopranos) and the top-rated scripted show across all broadcast and cable for the week of September 13.