‘Tentpole-level advertising and marketing’: HBO Max’s Steven Cardwell on advertising Space of the Dragon, Discovery+ merger

The streaming wars would possibly once in a while resemble their very own model of Sport of Thrones, with fiefdoms scuffling with it out for video dominance. The most recent salvo is the brand new “Space Of The Dragon” sequence, which HBO Max vice president of Originals Advertising and marketing Steven Cardwell described because the carrier’s largest marketing campaign but. (Even though he wouldn’t expose prices, the selling funding is reportedly just about thrice greater than any earlier “Sport Of Thrones” sequence, with media spend valued at greater than $100 million.)

Along with the standard promoting throughout TV, social media, billboards, and different web advertising, the brand new sequence — which debuted closing week — has various partnerships with DuoLingo and Snapchat together with a brand new augmented fact app that shall we customers educate a digital dragon and watch it develop all the way through the sequence.

The sector is so much other than it was once in 2019.

Steven Cardwell, vice president of Originals Advertising and marketing, HBO Max

Digiday stuck up with Cardwell to discuss how advertising and marketing for the display has advanced, the method for shorter advertising and marketing home windows and the have an effect on of the deliberate Discovery+ merger.

This dialog has been edited for brevity and readability.

How is advertising and marketing for “Space Of The Dragon” other than the way you’ve advertised “Sport Of Thrones” seasons previously?

The sector is so much other than it was once in 2019. HBO Max didn’t exist, for starters. What we got down to do understanding that HBO Max is a world platform was once attempt to make this marketing campaign as far-reaching and world as imaginable, at first. The standards with which we evaluated all of our partnerships and promotions had been, will this scale globally? Is that this going to expand the target market outdoor of the U.S.? Despite the fact that we all know there are rankings of Sport of Thrones lovers the world over, truly sought after to convey them into the selling marketing campaign.

How so?

A large number of that went into making sure that the AR app we evolved, as an example, was once out there globally. In our partnership with Snapchat, we’re partnering with world creators to create particular markers everywhere the sector, with the speculation of riding roughly this large cultural world second round this display. So it’s simply been truly cool to peer the English language no longer even dominating the Twitter dialog for this sequence.

I learn studies of the selling price range for “Space Of The Dragon” being a lot greater than another “Sport Of Thrones” season. Why is that and the way is that this yr other?

I will’t clearly discuss to the precise numbers, however I will say it was once the most important marketing campaign and no doubt delivered. It was once the most important premiere in HBO’s historical past so it’s thrilling to peer that correlation, however the core tenets stay the similar. We’re extra fractured in our viewing conduct now. There are much more streamers and there’s simply extra festival for eyeballs and it’s exhausting to create those giant tentpole, monolithic, cultural moments. That simply calls for tentpole-level advertising and marketing to truly generate that call for and pleasure for the franchise.

There are much more streamers and there’s simply extra festival for eyeballs and it’s exhausting to create those giant tentpole, monolithic, cultural moments.

Steven Cardwell

The opposite a part of that is we’re a part of a brand new corporate with Warner Bros. Discovery and we’re in a position to truly lean in closely on all of the new promotional levers we by no means had get right of entry to to previously. So the entire portfolio of the Discovery Networks’ channels, but in addition bringing in combination the entire iconic manufacturers beneath Warner Bros. Discovery, from “Pals” to “American Dad” to elite wrestling. It’s a reasonably large laundry record.

At the income name previous this month, executives mentioned advertising and marketing home windows being shorter at the moment. How does that modify the way in which you market it?

We practice a extra conventional theatrical style with this marketing campaign … In a global like this, this can be a sign to shoppers that there’s a giant match coming, and it takes a rather well orchestrated roughly construct to get to that premiere — and there’s a longer tail [so] you want to begin to lay the ones breadcrumbs.

Because it pertains to different campaigns, there’s only a lot in the market and for those who get started the entirety a year-and-a-half out it could pressure maximum shoppers loopy. Other folks, after they listen about one thing, [they] need so to straight away take motion on it and cross watch it. A unusual comedy isn’t going to have this lengthy lead marketing campaign, however I don’t know if there’s anything else leading edge on this taste. It was once nearly identical to a hark again to the standard film tentpole style. … It’s no longer one thing you’ll condense to a two-week length.

How have new plans to merge HBOMax and Discovery+ modified your business plan total throughout quite a lot of displays? I noticed the inside track closing week of dozens of displays together with many originals being lower.

We’re nonetheless figuring all of it out. “Space of the Dragon” is a best-in-case use case situation for a way we will be able to be as far-reaching as imaginable, and using the entire channels we personal. There’s simply much more alternatives for that crossover possible. Within the income name, as [Warner Bros. president/CEO David Zaslav] had discussed, we needed to [focus on] high quality content material.

And with that, if there’s much less stuff at the platform, we will be able to make investments extra within the stuff this is riding viewership, riding that roughly cultural zeitgeist of those giant tentpole moments. So the funding in “Space of the Dragon” was once truly giant for this reason — this concept of constructing advertising and marketing that fits the scale and the dimensions of those productions, and that’s as leading edge and large and top class as what lovers be expecting from the sequence themselves.

https://digiday.com/advertising and marketing/tentpole-level-marketing-hbo-maxs-steven-cardwell-on-promoting-house-of-the-dragon-discovery-merger/

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