Whether out on the town, or cozy at home, HBO Max believes in date night. The subscription video on-demand streaming service built excitement for the launch of Max Original “Love Life” season two with a four-day series of romantic evenings for couples at eight Black-owned restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles, Detroit and Atlanta.
In partnership with events platform Black Restaurant Week and dating app BLK, the “Love Life” Date Night activations took place Oct. 26-29 for the Oct. 28 show premier. Each night, fans enjoyed a romantic evening with their partner at partnering restaurants: BLVD Bistro and Negril BK in New York; Alta Adams and Post and Beam in Los Angeles; Central Kitchen + Bar, Ivy Kitchen + Cocktails and Good Times On The Ave in Detroit; and Negril ATL in Atlanta.
Each activation was open to the public and played off the comedic scenes that actor William Jackson Harper as Marcus Watkins finds himself in while navigating the modern dating scene in search of true love on the show. Upon walking into one of the participating restaurants, guests were greeted by a “Love Life” neon sign offering the perfect Instagram photo opportunity with #LoveLifeDateNight and #LoveLifeOnMax.
Themed placemats and customized food and cocktail menus were inspired by the series and its characters including Jessica Williams, Punkie Johnson and Chris “Comedian CP” Powell. And diners could keep conversation flowing with “Love Life” and BLK-branded branded conversation cards featuring creative talking points about everything from favorite books to dating to relationships.
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Couples who preferred to enjoy the event from home could participate remotely by creating food and cocktail recipes featured across BLK and partnering restaurant social media channels. Black Restaurant Week, which celebrates the flavors of African American, African and Caribbean cuisine created by Black-owned culinary businesses, cross-promoted the campaign across its social media channels and online content hub where fans could also register for the activations.
The goal of the program was to create activations with diverse representation celebrating Black-owned businesses in key markets. Targeting a broad, multicultural audience, the event then showcased partnerships that celebrate diverse love stories. And the activations were designed to create moments that elevate the brand while honoring the ups, downs and in-betweens of finding and keeping love in the city. The event offered a consistent experience across cities but also embraced the unique character of each individual restaurant.
“The most exciting part is really to be on the ground working with these businesses,” says JP Mallo, vp of HBO Max Originals Marketing. “There is an excitement and electricity now that we are starting to do more things in person, especially when you look at a show that takes place in New York. As marketers, we want to be able to convey that excitement to the consumers.”
The activations are the main focus of a 360-degree marketing campaign that includes digital, social, out of home, paid media and more. Agencies: HBO Max and CSM Sport and Entertainment (producers of “Love Life Date Night” and Black Restaurant Week partnership); zakHill (BLK brand partnership).
Photo credit: Ignacio Linares, Joseph Johnson