2014: HBO Go spots show how awkward it can be watching ‘Game of Thrones’ with your parents
To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.
Today's marketing moment was chosen by Heather Taylor, a freelance writer for Advertising Week, HelloGiggles and Ed2010. Below, see why Taylor, who tweets @howveryheather, picked SS+K’s “Awkward Family Viewing” series for HBO GO about how it really feels to watch HBO programming with your parents.
A father, mother, brother, and sister are gathered together on the couch with pizza slices watching an episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” As blonde-haired Daenerys Targaryen appears on the screen, Mom immediately wants to know what house she’s in. The daughter quickly responds “Targaryen” as Mom suddenly realizes that Daenerys is married to “the big guy with the eyeliner.” Her son reminds her that “the big guy” is Drogo and he’s been dead for a while in the series. Not even a minute later, Mom and Dad decide that the actor playing Robb Stark must be Paul Rudd, leading their frustrated daughter to pause the show and ask them why they would think Paul Rudd would ever do this kind of series. After she starts the show again, the words “Might be a good time for HBO GO” appear on the screen.
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A million questions, eye rolling, and squirming. Welcome to what it’s like to watch HBO original programming with your parents. In 2014, ad agency SS+K created the “Awkward Family Viewing” campaign series for HBO Go. With commercial spots that included cringing with Mom and Dad through racy sex scenes from “Girls” and “Game of Thrones,” HBO Go is advertised as a streaming platform “far, far away from your parents” for millennials to view their favorite shows on their own.
Directed by O Positive’s David Shane, SS+K’s Chief Creative Officer Bobby Hershfield targeted the campaign’s 30-60 second spots to millennials as more than just a nod to all of the original programming you’d find on the platform. “… Emotionally, the reason became HBO Go lets you avoid watching HBO with your parents.” The reason became one that everyone, millennial or not, could relate to and SS+K received the Small Agency Digital Campaign of the Year, Gold Award from Ad Age’s Small Agency Awards in 2015.
Hey, I get it. If HBO GO had existed 10 years ago, it would have saved me from many embarrassing moments as my parents “casually” popped by the living room while I was watching “Sex and the City.” After all, it’s not TV, it’s HBO. But in my experience, HBO is best enjoyed for one or with close friends who know exactly what’s happening in this season’s “Game of Thrones” and won’t constantly wonder aloud “But when is winter REALLY coming?”