Hulu’s CMO Says Its Viral Egg PSA Became Its Second Most-Watched Episode on the Service Within First 12 Hours

Kelly Campbell spoke at Brandweek: Challenger Brands

Campbell also addressed Hulu's Handmaid's Tale Super Bowl ad and its Fyre Festival documentary. Sean T. Smith for Adweek
Headshot of Sara Jerde

Hulu’s video revealing a highly anticipated message from a cracked egg ended up being the service’s second most-watched episode within 12 hours, the company’s CMO, Kelly Campbell said in her keynote at Brandweek: Challenger Brands today.

That win for the streaming service involved a huge buildup around the Super Bowl (during which Hulu released a 30-second ad for The Handmaid’s Tale). The service posted a cryptic message on an Instagram post from “world_record_egg” to stay tuned after the Big Game for a special message on Hulu.

That post got more than 1 million likes in less than an hour, and the service’s Instagram followers grew by 25 percent, Campbell said. And after the actual message the post teased went live on the service, the short animated video that turned out to be a PSA about mental health became Hulu’s second most-watched episode within 12 hours, she said.

The egg campaign served as an example of how Hulu could wade into unexpected places, even in cultural moments.

It’s part of the larger reality for streaming services that are required to come up with innovative ways to “future proof” their brands, as Campbell put it. Hulu has come a long way since it launched in beta in 2007 (which in context, was the same year the iPhone launched). Since then, competitors have flooded the space. While competition helps “spark innovation,” Campbell said, it makes it all the more challenging to stand out in an “increasingly complex and crowded market.”

Take those Fyre Festival documentaries. Hulu released one of them (Fyre Fraud) five days before Netflix dropped one its own.

“The goal was to get people talking about Hulu and, of course, watch our documentary,” Campbell said, noting that the conversation on social media took off and got celebrities like Chrissy Teigen to weigh in. Not only was rolling out the documentary the most fun Campbell said she’s had at Hulu, but the service broke its own records for earned media.

Hulu’s Super Bowl commercial, which was modeled after Ronald Reagan’s 1984 “Morning in America” campaign ad, also didn’t shy away from politics and caused quite a splash. The spot, which teased the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale, has been described by the service as “tonally” different from the first two seasons.

“As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision in today’s political environment, but we thought it was important for our brand,” Campbell said.

Last year marked a remarkable period of growth for the streaming service, which grew from 17 million subscribers at the start of last year to 25 million. It also brought in almost $1.5 billion in ad revenue.

“It’s more important than ever to create breakthrough moments and build lasting connections with consumers,” Campbell said. “Never forget who you are and strive to be better.”

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.
Publish date: February 6, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT