HBO has cleverly retooled scenes from shows like Ballers and Insecure to surprise the viewer, shifting focus from the talent featured to reveal the female talent working for the network behind the scenes. The point isn’t just to trick the viewer but to showcase the women working behind the camera with a new campaign, “Because of Her,” from creative shop David & Goliath.
The work features Chloe Domont (director, Ballers), Amy Aniobi (writer, Insecure), Bruna Papandrea (executive producer, Big Little Lies) and Paula Huidobro (director of photography, Barry), as well as a spot the network created and released earlier in the year showcasing the work of Deb Cahn (writer, Paterno).
The campaign has already scored 2.5 million views across HBO’s social media and digital platforms.
Adweek caught up with Jason Mulderig, vice president, brand and product marketing at HBO, to learn more about the work and why the network wanted to create something like this now.
Adweek: Earlier this month, in The Hollywood Reporter, HBO revealed some numbers regarding an inclusion milestone. Is that why you are doing this now?
Jason Mulderig: The timing for the campaign was tied to the new season premieres of Ballers and Insecure, since we thought that is when the spots would have the most resonance with engaged fans. The campaign also dovetailed nicely with the important milestone that we have women and men of color and white women holding 57 percent of director roles in our productions, up more than 50 percent since 2015. We thought this was a great opportunity to combine the messages and highlight the achievements of the women who work behind the scenes to make our shows so incredible.
How did you come up with the creative? Were the women involved?
We took great care to work with our showrunners and the women featured in the campaign, to ensure that the creative properly reflected their unique contributions to their respective shows. We collaborated with each of the talent to best represent their contributions and ensure the authenticity of the message. We had a loose set of ideas for each creative role and then worked to customize each spot with specific situations, lines of dialogue or situations that were relayed to us from the talent.
There was a bit of a trick with the ads, where viewers see a scene but then it switches to behind-the-scenes. Why do that?
We wanted to surprise the viewer by modifying the scenes they know and love to illuminate the profound impact the women behind the camera have on HBO’s programming. We also felt that our fans would share the same appreciation for these talented women who craft the shows they so passionately follow. And the reactions we have seen have echoed that fully.
Any plans to expand this campaign?
We definitely plan to expand the campaign. To kick it off, we wanted to focus on key positions of influence like writers, directors, EPs, DPs, etc. where the decisions are most consequential. But we are not limiting ourselves to those positions as we continue the campaign, and are in conversations with other talent to create additional spots.