“Do you think you could sign this without the ‘Hulu has live sports?’” a fan asks NBA star Joel Embiid.
“Legally … nah,” he responds in Hulu’s new ad campaign. He also scribbles his real name rather than his nickname, “The Process.”
“Mr. Embiid, why’d you change your nickname?” a young boy with a cast asks him.
He pauses, then answers: “money.”
In its new “Hulu Sellouts” campaign, the streamer uses humor to add an element of authenticity to its marketing by making it perfectly clear that the influencers endorsing its platform—and in this case specifically promoting the fact that games are available through its live-TV service—are receiving a hefty sum for their efforts.
Another spot features NBA star Damian Lillard getting “Hulu Has Live Sports” tattooed on his arm, sans any fire-breathing dragons or tough dolphins, or even changes to the font.
“How much are they paying you?” the tattoo artist asks.
A third spot will feature Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Influencer marketing has taken on a life of its own,” Kelly Campbell, chief marketing officer at Hulu, told the Wall Street Journal. “Yet at the same time we know athletes are getting paid a lot of money to endorse products.”
Rather than burying that relationship, Hulu is putting it front and center, and using hashtags such as #ad, #paid, #alot, #sponsored, #hulupaidme, #neversellout and #hulusellouts to drive the point home.
The campaign, by creative digital agency Big Family Table, will debut on-air during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, and will roll out across social media as the players post from their own accounts.
It will also include online banners and billboards, and will continue throughout the year as Hulu reaches out to athletes from other sports.
Creative Agency: Big Family Table
Production Company: Hungry Man
Post VFX: Resolution L.A.
Director: Dave Laden
Executive Producer: Dan Duffy
Music Composition: MassiveMusic