The heart and soul of what the Promax community does is promote TV shows, and with more TV shows to promote than ever before on more platforms, the options are nearly limitless. Here are the campaigns that captured our hearts in 2019.
1. HBO’s Game of Thrones
You’re probably entirely sick of it but it cannot be denied: Game of Thrones was as much marketing marvel as pop-culture phenomenon in 2019. What other show can you think of that’s main-title sequence was well known enough to be remade solely with Oreos?
And the viewer count on the above official season-eight trailer says it all: nearly 65 million views and counting. That’s the power of the Iron Throne … even if it no longer exists.
2. Disney+ Launch
Having signed up 24 million people in its launch month alone, the success of Disney+—and Baby Yoda—is undeniable. The Disney+ marketing team— led by former Promax board co-chair Joe Earley and Promax executive committee member Andy Baker—took advantage of Disney’s incredible wealth of content to whip up some amazing pre-launch promos.
As the spot reminds us: “You have something very rare, you have magic.”
Considering the way Friends is still consumed, no one would guess the show actually debuted 25 years ago. To celebrate that anniversary (and the series’ pending move to HBO Max in May), the Warner Bros. marketing team, led by former Promax board co-chair Lisa Gregorian, did a remarkable job of keeping the show top of mind, with pop-ups all over the place that earned it nearly constant news pick-ups.
Even after 25 years, Friends are still there for you.
4. HBO’s Watchmen
For Watchmen, based on Alan Moore’s scintillating 1980s graphic novel, HBO did what it does best: drum up the mystery around Damon Lindelof’s latest puzzle-box series. And HBO also kept firmly in mind what the best marketers know: hype the show, but finely tune that hype so viewers’ expectations are met but not dashed.
Watchmen did all that and more in its nearly perfect first—but hopefully not only—season.
In addition, the network sneakily gave away the store with the show’s key art, but did it in such a way that no one knew that’s what was up until the show’s very last scene.
5. Netflix’s Stranger Things 3
Hype for Stranger Things 3 was already sky high before Netflix snuck in this genius New Year’s Eve teaser trailer at the start of 2019:
That spot revealed that the show would return on July 4, giving fans a full six months of anticipation.
The streamer also did an incredible job tapping into ‘80s nostalgia as a marketing lure for all kinds of brands, from Coca-Cola to H&M, Burger King and Nike.
6. Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Like Stranger Things, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel uses nostalgia in its favor, although Midge Maisel’s world is full of perfectly pressed dresses, tailored to her tiny waist, as well as shiny, coiffed hair and the perfect shade of lipstick.
Amazon took advantage of all of that when it offered Maisel Day in Los Angeles, sending fans all around the city to take advantage of discounts on manicures, pedicures, facials, haircuts, blow-outs and more.
As part of the promotion around the Dec. 6 launch of season three, the streamer also jetted 20 superfans off to Las Vegas for “One Marvelous Night,” co-sponsored by private jet company JSX.
7. FX’s American Horror Story: 1984
Another show set in the ‘80s, American Horror Story turned its theme to slasher movies in season nine, which gave FX lots of inspiration.
FX’s crack marketing team, led by Promax board co-chair Stephanie Gibbons, got inspired by the decade’s iconic horror movies, including Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th.
“This season, more than any other, is more genre-based. For younger people, it’s vintage and for us, it’s just a memory,” Gibbons told Daily Brief. “But I think it resonates with both. I have nieces and nephews who know Halloween, Friday the 13th and all those movies as well as I do.”
The network also staged a fun activation with an overnight sleep-away camp in Los Angeles, designed so that influencers and media could immerse themselves in what season nine was all about.
“Just like the comfort of a long-term relationship, you can communicate [with audiences] in less words,” Gibbons said. “You have a shorthand with each other, but you also have the freshness, newness, excitement and anticipation of the unknown. It’s like being married with a perfect mistress. It really works well as a marketer.”
8. Stun/CNN The Movies
CNN and Stun showed off a true client/agency partnership in their inspired campaign for last summer’s The Movies, executive produced by Tom Hanks’ Playtone Pictures and Herzog & Co. In the above spot, the partners had fun creating graphic representations for a slew of iconic films, and then letting the viewer discern which each of them were.
Below, is Herzog & Co.’s main-title sequence for the show, which also used familiar movie scenes to surprise and delight.
9. Freeform’s ‘Dear Society’
In the above Promax award-winning brand sizzle and the below print ad—written by Richard Eng, VP, creative, Freeform—Freeform informs society, “it’s not me, it’s you.”
The campaign was rolled out ahead of 2019’s second annual Freeform Summit, with the theme of “A Stage for Everyone.” Throughout the day, Freeform hosted a series of panel discussions focusing on authentic storytelling, inclusion and representation—all themes that anchor the network’s original series, such as Sirens, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionsts, Grown-ish and more.
“At Freeform, our programming is meant to inspire, empower and celebrate the possibility of youth culture—we are in service to an audience that is paving the way and fighting for a more inclusive tomorrow and we are so honored to be representing them on and off screen,” said Tom Ascheim, president, Freeform, in a statement.
10. ITV’s ‘More Than TV’
Famed British journalist Sir Trevor McDonald takes viewers on a tour of nearly 50 years of history in ITV’s campaign, “More Than TV,” created by London-based Uncommon Creative Studio.
As McDonald says: “Because in the end, we are changed by what we see. Just as we are changed when we are seen.”
READ MORE: The Drum