HBO Max Promos Put on a Dizzying Pop-Culture Display

Dorothy! Oscar the Grouch! Batman! Friends!

AT&T's WarnerMedia makes a powerful appeal to our shared pop-cultural heritage in spots introducing HBO Max, the much-anticipated video-on-demand subscription streaming service that launches May 27.

The offering bundles HBO's premium TV package with original shows plus a wide variety of library content. All told, that's 10,000 hours of programming. And this :70 from BBDO/Hearts & Sciences offers a dizzying display of viewing options:

It begins, appropriately enough, with Dorothy clicking her heels and making a wish. After that, a Kansas whirlwind of imagery rushes by as a King looks North, Rhett and Scarlett spin across the floor, Oscar talks trash, the Fresh Prince gets jiggy, a Dark Knight goes bats and Big Bangers cosplay in style.

And that's just the first 15 seconds. Godzilla stomps around later on. Keanu does the Matrix. Sally fakes it. And Kenny's still dead.

"I don't think anyone in a marketing role would choose to launch in this environment of unprecedented anxiety and economic uncertainty, but we've been smart in the pivots we've made and we feel confident in our ability to launch," WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer CMO Chris Spadaccini tells Muse. "People are streaming more content than ever, looking for an escape from reality, so we see a great opportunity for HBO Max and its iconic library to help fill an emotional void."  

Tagged "Where HBO meets so much more," the spot works like a clip-show sampler or Hollywood trailer of memorable bits that leave you wanting more. These segments bridge generations, styles and interests, reflecting myriad facets of the cultural milieu. They do a fine job of communicating the depth and breath of Max.

And during lockdown, it's comforting and to check in with old Friends. (Well, maybe not Joey so much.)

This second trailer follows a similar script:

"We decided it would be prudent to put all of the creative into a second round of testing to make sure it held up post-Covid, and we were very reassured to see that it did," Spadaccini says. "The tone of the campaign is very warm and nostalgic, it invites you into this new place where your favorite characters intersect and feels very welcoming. We think all of those messages will be well-received right now."

As for how the push might evolve, "we'll be leaning more heavily on virtual viewing sessions, influencer marketing campaigns, at-home watch kits, digital watch parties and live events on social media [where possible] to engage viewers, while also providing talent fun ways to get involved in our promotional campaigns from home," he says.

Also check out a teaser and three trailers for four new shows premiering on HBO Max:


Client: HBO Max
CMO, WarnerMedia Entertainment: Chris Spadaccini
SVP, Brand Marketing: Jason Mulderig
Director, Brand Marketing: Dana Lichtenstein
Manager, Brand Marketing: Matt Bataclan
Associate Manager, Brand Marketing: Elizabeth Tillman

Creative: BBDO/Hearts & Sciences
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Executive Creative Director: Doug Fallon
Executive Creative Director: Steve Fogel
Creative Director: Ricky Anolik
Creative Director: Paul Elicker
Senior Producer: Katie Greene
President, Hearts & Science: Ralph Pardo
Managing Director: Kathryn Brown
VP, Account Director: Cailin Gibbons
Head of Integrated Strategy: Thomas Han
Planning Director: Benjamin Bass
Junior Planner: Caroline Moyer-Kardos

Editor: UltraBland
Executive Producer: Sylvia Le-Austria
Producer: Jacqueline Garbuio
Editorial and Sound Design: Sara Soto, Eron Otcasek
Assistant Editorial: Jack Houston
Sound Design: Tyler Swafford

Music: Found Objects
Executive Creative Director: Trevor Gureckis
Executive Creative Director: Jay Wadley
Creative Director/Composer: Ben Marshall
Junior Composer: Adam Weiss
Head of Production: Matt Nelson
Executive Producer: Jennie Armon
Producer: Nick Chomowicz
Music Coordinator: Agatha Lee

Mix: Sound Lounge
Executive Producer: Becca Falborn
Producer: Lauren Mullen
Senior Mixer: Rob DiFondi

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