HBO Max initially planned to hold a week of physical brand activations and brick-and-mortar retail takeovers to celebrate its nationwide launch on May 27. But as its debut occurred during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the WarnerMedia streaming service had to rethink its brand partnerships for a launch campaign designed to engage consumers stuck at home.
To celebrate the launch, HBO Max partnered with numerous brands for its “Week of So Much More” campaign from May 27-June 3. The campaign offers consumers promotions and virtual events themed around the service’s streaming content, from Friends to Sesame Street to Game of Thrones.
Participating brands include Blue Apron, Obé Fitness, Bluestone Lane, Best Friends Animal Society, FreshDirect and Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream.
“A Week of So Much More” kicked off May 27 and runs through June 3.
Jason Mulderig, svp of brand marketing at HBO and HBO Max, said the platform’s original vision for premiere week was to connect with consumers through real-life retail partnerships and pop-ups. Once the pandemic made that impossible, HBO Max worked with original partners to revamp the stunts and brought on new partners that could cater to quarantined fans.
“We sat down with our existing partners and talked about how we could reimagine the partnerships because consumer behaviors changed as well,” Mulderig said. “We had to rethink where we were giving perks and how we were reaching and engaging our customers. In some instances, we had to consider new partners as well.”
For Bluestone Lane, HBO Max is supporting the coffee company’s existing “So Much More Fuel for Heroes” initiative by doubling local coffee deliveries to hospitals in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C., throughout the week. The brand is also celebrating HBO Max franchises with latte art demonstrations across its social channels.
The streaming service is supporting grocery delivery company FreshDirect in its existing partnership with New York Common Pantry, matching ongoing consumer donations through June 2.
Bluestone Lane will post branded latte art demos on social throughout the week.
Obé Fitness, which provides at-home workouts, is one brand HBO Max partnered with for the campaign after it realized physical events wouldn’t be an option. The fitness company is offering customers daily workouts inspired by shows like Sex in the City, Euphoria and Sesame Street and promoting the branded workouts on social.
“Obé is seeing huge engagement right now. People are at home and like to work out,” Mulderig said. “That was one where we were opportunistic in talking to them to reach a younger and more millennial audience that loves to stream content, whether it’s online exercise classes or our own entertainment.”
With the pandemic increasing nationwide pet adoptions, HBO Max partnered with Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare nonprofit, for its first virtual adoption event. Along with sponsoring the event, which kicked off May 27 and runs through May 31, the brand helped offset adoption costs for anyone who submitted an application to adopt during the event’s first day. According to HBO Max, the event drew more than 900 applications for pets in the first 24 hours.
Obé Fitness is hosting branded workouts for customers.
HBO Max is also leveraging the popularity of ordering food and meal-kit deliveries during the pandemic. Blue Apron is offering branded pairing suggestions on recipe cards in subscribers’ boxes. The meal-kit service is also hosting Instagram Live snack cooking tutorials to pair with streaming content, with the recipes available on Blue Apron’s site. Snacks include Fiery Dragon Wings for Game of Thrones, Ruh Roh Puppy Chow for Scooby-Doo, Atomic Shrimp for The Big Bang Theory and a Bon Temps Breeze for True Blood.
The streaming service also partnered with high-end ice cream chain Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream to give away 1,000 pints to fans. The brand will also suggest ice cream pairings with HBO Max titles on its social channels.