HBO may be known for its original shows, but its latest marketing push focuses on its collection of studio films.
The company has teamed up with dating-app-turned-lifestyle-brand Bumble to host a two-night event called “Stay home to the movies” on August 15 and 16. Guests, including Bumble users who received an in-app invite for the experience, visited an approximately $30 million apartment near Washington Square Park in New York. Attendees were divided into six different movies, such as “Girls Trip,” “Back to the Future” and “It,” based on a personality quiz. There were 65 guests each night, with the waitlist at 1,200 per night.
As HBO competes with the rise of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and soon-to-come Disney streaming service, HBO is promoting its selection of movies to offer customers along with exclusive shows. HBO is still among the top streaming services with 5 million streaming customers in the U.S. and 142 million subscribers through cable and streaming worldwide, as of February 2018. Netflix reported 130 million subscribers for the second quarter of 2018.
HBO is also competing with the rise of theater subscription services, notably MoviePass along with AMC A-List and Sinemia, to bring people to watch new films. Meanwhile, Bumble is looking for a point of differentiation with other dating apps, including Facebook’s new product.
Both brands have chosen to invest in experiential marketing, separately, and now together, to help with retention of old users and lure new ones. HBO regularly hosts experiential events for the launch of new shows, while Bumble has hosted pop-ups in certain markets to celebrate its community. The theme of the combined event was a movie date night, where the idea was that Bumble users could have a first date that was a movie, without having to pay to go to the theater and without the uncomfortable ask of inviting somewhere. It’s what another brand — aka not HBO — may call a “Netflix and Chill.”
“We felt like the brands and our key audiences were a good alignment, younger, influential, socially connected and looking for something to do,” said Jason Mulderig, vp of brand and product marketing at HBO.