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How HBO Max’s Collegiate Mobile Pop-up Tour Energized California Campuses

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Swag bags delivered to students while they waited in line included a range of partner samples.

HBO Max knows that perhaps no one appreciates free swag more than a college student. So to celebrate the new HBO Max Original show, “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” that premiered on Nov. 18, the brand launched a mobile pop-up tour for collegiate crowds to revel in partner samplings and touchpoints that brought the show to life.

A series of three “One Night Stand” activations took place, one each on Nov. 15 at California State University Long Beach, Nov. 16 at UCLA and Nov. 18 at UC Berkeley. The heart of the experience took place while attendees stood in line for goodie bags and received a prompt to complete an interactive quiz that revealed one of four “on-campus personalities” based on the show. Each participant could then opt into a national sweepstakes for the chance to win a three-night getaway at any Graduate Hotel in the U.S., including round-trip air and ground transportation, one year of free shoes from Sperry (one pair per month) and a Glow Recipe vault box. Prompts to share their results on social media helped amplify the promotion.

Every consumer received an exclusive goodie bag (an HBO Max-branded backpack) filled with essentials like Batiste dry shampoo, a WetBrush mini brush, Invisibobble hair scrunchies, Mighty Gum immunity-boosting chewing gum, a can of Sanzo flavored sparkling water, SmartSweets candy, LesserEvil popcorn and a rehydrating Liquid IV electrolyte mix. They also received a refreshment bag filled with fresh wipes and deodorant, and a drawstring IPSY glam bag containing a generous selection of different makeup and beauty product samplings.

amazon-prime-pop-up-tailgate-2021-teaserMore College Campus Activations:

“It was a great way for us to be on campus, and safely, in a high-traffic area,” says Andrew Meengern, director-Originals Marketing at HBO Max. “Especially with students going back to campus this fall, we thought it was important to go directly to where they’re at in a really fun way.”

In true caffeinated college style, attendees could enjoy complimentary coffee from RISE coffee and sweet treats from Insomnia Cookies while exploring the footprint. A photo opportunity themed after the show also awaited students who, after spending prior semesters in isolation, were eager to capture the smallest moments together in person on campus.

Even in California, the event’s contingency plans included setting up a covered structure on the footprint, which was located near shelter on each campus in case of inclement weather. Students on each campus enjoyed a near-identical experience, as the self-contained structure folded into a cube and was easily transported by a lean staff from school to school along the mobile pop-up tour.

HBO Max’s queue-line quiz strategy distracted consumers from the pain point of having to stand in line (as long as 20 minutes) while maximizing the length of time that they were engaging with and learning about the show.

Not only did HBO Max’s slew of strategic partners provide coveted products, but they also created exclusive content for the program and promoted it across their social media channels, maximizing reach for the show. The brand also sent similar bags of swag to its college ambassadors at 80 different campuses across the country in hopes that they would also share the goods with their cohorts through word of mouth and social media.

“It’s about aligning not only the business objectives, but also the demos and overall brand values to make sure it all feels cohesive,” Meengern says. “People forget how cool and fun activations can be on a campus, and we hope that more and more of these will pop up in the industry.” (Agency: Civic Entertainment Group)

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The self-contained pop-up structure folded into a cube, and was easily transported between campuses.

Photo credit: Kyle Miyamoto

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