HBO impresses me to no end. From programming, to scheduling, to mobile strategies, to marketing--they're truly the modern broadcast network.
Proof of their marketing prowess can be seen in their most recent promotion for the new season of their highly acclaimed (and loved by 5 Blogs) series Boardwalk Empire.
In preparation for the show's September 25th launch, HBO worked a deal with the New York City transit authority. The MTA to bring back 1920's era subway trains that are giant mobile billboards for the Prohibition-era series.
Inside, the trains are decked-out in authentic Prohibition-era splender, with with rattan seats, ceiling fans and drop sash windows. To tie the carriage back to the HBO series, the interior is decorated with ads tied to the series' themes--as if the characters and locations were real, and some direct promotional ads for the show.
The MTA is running a subway train on the 2/3 lines on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-6pm during the month of September, making stops at 42nd Street/Times Square, 72nd Street and 96th Street. The trains were originally operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit system, nearly 100 years ago in 1917.
The campaign is impressive for many reasons. The skill required to negotiate a deal between the MTA and HBO to bring back a 1917 subway train that is a walking advertisement for a new television series is mind-boggling. And, what a great, intrusive but-at-the-same-time passive moving advertisement. While the moving billboard is only in New York City, it is getting great, global press for HBO.
Congratulations (and thank you) to all of those involved.