Partners In Design


Hide & Seek: HBO's 'Big Love' Campaign

On my way down the cavernous, underground path from NYC's Port Authority to the 7 Train, I suddenly found myself brought to an abrupt halt. I looked to my left, as angry and wet New Yorkers grumbled at my firm planting on the path, and saw a peculiar eye level billboard. To the left, I immediately recognized the iconic 'Big Love' logo for HBO's hit show about a polygamist family, but the Ad did not contain hero shots of the cast. Instead it contained a series of photography showing various street scenes and people going about their everyday lives. Above each person was an icon of a headphone and the message 'Plug-In'. Each person had a jack in which anyone with a headphone could easily plug themselves in and listen to each one's secret. As the campaign states 'Everyone has something to hide.'

In one of the secrets a voice says, “If my family knew I was looking at these magazines, oh my my.” In another, a woman is heard wondering if she can get away with stealing a lunch from the office refrigerator.

This aspect of the campaign, driven by the agency BBDO North America, was driven by the show's underlying theme of 'Secrets' and what each of the characters have to hide. According to reports, these type of campaigns (Which HBO is no stranger to) are meant to generally gain buzz through the dissection viewers have on the curious campaigns to gain buzz via word of mouth and blogging.

The microsite , features confessions from the “Big Love” characters and from regular people trying to get something off their chest. The site also receives outside submissions anonymously. In terms of catching viewers up with the show's charachters, the site offers insight such as: Nicki, the wife played by Chloe Sevigny, who has had major credit issues admits to such. Margene, the wife played by Ginnifer Goodwin, admits to hiding her lifestyle to her mother and that Bill, the patriarch played by Bill Paxton, took on a russian mistress.

In addition to the current pushes, HBO and their agencies plan on another large stunt of advertising on January 14th in the cities of New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Each city will feature 150 people wearing cartoon though bubbles that express a particular secret they've been hiding from everyone around them. The featured people have been told not to speak to anyone, but instead hand them a flier containing an AD for 'Big Love'.

I have to say, This campaign is really starting to impress me. The first ad push, which wasn't nearly as inspired with the photography of the principal cast was even enough to have me sit down in front of the tube and watch all two previous seasons in the course of 2 days. I have to send out major kudos to the people behind the decision making at HBO, because all of their campaigns have been interesting, inspired, and forward moving. I thought 'True Blood's fake beverage push was brilliant, but now they're really moving strong on this one.


Paul said...

Fascinating campaign. Gotta love the interactive element...really something that could have only been pulled off in the past decade or so. And it really says something about HBO's confidence in the (advertising) viewer. Sure, not everyone will have headphones, but those who do will be impacted 10-fold. It's not about getting EVERYONE to see your ad. It's about getting the RIGHT people to see your ad.

Made me wish I had those fancy channels.

Laz said...

Oddly enough, of all the major cities this campaign is running in, NYC is the only city that the consumers are not being offered headphones with the ADs. All other cities offer headphones for those who don't have them.

HBO reps have said that they felt confident that the viewers they wanted to target in NYC would most likely have their own.

Shalimar said...

HBO is bloody brilliant in every way. They have yet to disappoint me. Altogether they are a very brave network, with their campaigns and the type of programming they push. I could keep going, but I will say its the best 9.95 extra I spend a month.

Shalimar said...

Also this campaign makes me want to start watching Big Love again. Im going to put it on my Netflix, along with Nip/Tuck.

Alexandra said...

I saw the poster with the four of them on a MTA bus back in December. I though it was great. I love HBO's work (and the agencies they hire).

Nicky Lorenzo said...

Bravo to HBO for not only letting their ad agency create a kick-ass campaign for Big Love but for continuing to provide awesome content, no matter how controversial. I really like the link between the cast having secrets to revealing the real-life secrets of random people. It's Post Secret, but with some balls.

cristine said...

Big Love is a great show and i love to see this show.Series made me glad when i saw it.Even i have a link to see the previous episodes of Big Love when i missed any episode.If you want to watch Big Love episodes then you can also see your missed episodes of it.