Social Media

HBO’s GIRLS Gets It with Promos as Genius as @LenaDunham

January 10, 2013

This isn’t a love letter to Lena Dunham, the creator of HBO’s hit series GIRLS. But, I could write one.

And if I did, it’d open with me referencing the Alicia Keys song “This Girl is on Fire,” and end with my contact info begging for her to get in touch so we could hang out on the regular.

This is however, a post from a digital marketer and HBO fan girl, about my love for GIRLS and their most recent digital marketing promotions. (And while you read this, I dare you to get the Alicia Keys song I just referenced out of your head, because you can’t.)

Although the characters on Dunham’s immensely popular show navigate their 20s in NYC “one mistake at a time” (that’s the show tagline), it seems their marketing manages to navigate digital one success after another.

Besides killin’ it on Tumblr with What Should We Call Girls (a What Should We Call Me spin-off), and in social in almost every which way (Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on…), three of their recent digital promotions blew me away, and I wanted to dive a little deeper into what it was about them that got me (as a fan of both digital and the show) beyond excited.

One common thread with all three promotions is that they tie digital to the real world. HBO really gets that GIRLS fans don’t just use social occasionally. They seem to fully understand how digital habits are one with their audience’s everyday lives —  and these experiences reflect that.

Free Rent for a Year, Compliments of Urban

The show revolves around four girls trying to make it in the city, and as every girl trying to make it in the city knows, rent ain’t cheap. In order to help some of the girls (and guys!) out who follow the show online, HBO paired up with Urban Outfitters to give away free rent for a year.

The site clearly explains the rules: just follow Urban and HBO on Instagram, upload a #selfie (self-portrait) in your apartment and tag it #UOxGIRLS.

The below tweet from @girlsHBO explains how easy it is to enter:

Potential improvement: My only criticism with this is that it seems a bit difficult to actually win, since only one out of the entries will be chosen. I’ll still be selfie snappin’ away though, since this seems worth going against the stacked odds.

Free Blow-Out, Compliments of Drybar

I first learned about Drybar last year, and have continued to hear rave reviews since. Their business model is simple: Drybar is a magical place you can go to get that sought-after freshly cut blow-out look, without actually paying for the cut.

And it’s only $40. So, by NYC standards, that’s basically free. When I saw the GIRLS HBO Happy Hour promo for $0 Drybar appointments the weekend before the GIRLS premiere, my coworkers and I bugged out.

But so did many, many others just like us. Possibly too many…

Potential improvement: During the time you were allowed to book your free Dry Bar experience, the site crashed, and the application did as well. Their phone lines also went down for a period of time, and customers weren’t able to book in person. (I may or may not have ran out of the office to visit the TriBeCa location to ask if I could make an appointment for the GIRLS promo, and came up empty handed.)

Free Spin Class, Compliments of Soul Cycle

Like Drybar, Soul Cycle is also magical place, but one where exercising somehow becomes a club-like experience with your favorite music where you can also lose weight. I even read that Lena Dunham herself hosted a Soul party for her 26th birthday. The only downside to Soul Cycle classes are the prices, which at $35+ per class can really add up.

To help struggling Soul Cycle sistas (and fellas) out, HBO’ GIRLS teamed up with Soul Cycle to release free GIRLS sponsored rides in various cities, which would all be released at the simultaneously on the booking site. Moreover, the lucky GIRLS riders were even treated to their own .gif’s, so they could further brag about their free rides!

Potential Improvement: Despite this gaining a TON of buzz online, the Soul Cycle website crashed, and once it was restored, many classes were already booked. That said, the @SoulCycle team did a fantastic job of being transparent about the issue and responding to dozens of follower challenges.

These three promotions all did an amazing job of gaining buzz online for the show’s premiere and gaining mass awareness for the three promotional partners. If each promo came with an HBO subscription, then I may be even more inclined to tune in if I weren’t already a fan…

Who else is excited for Sunday and the other digital goodies they’ll release next? Also, who else can’t stop saying “It’s a Wednesday night baby, and I’m alive,” when it isn’t even Wednesday?

Cover image via CNN