“We see these brands as collaborators and storytellers with us because we know that they play a critical role in helping us to drive awareness for our stories, like ‘Black Cake.’ And they really help us surprise and delight our fans and bring authenticity and relevance to the key audience that we want to reach in our marketing.”
–Adia Matthews, VP-Partnership Marketing, Hulu
For the event marketing campaign and premiere of its new series, “Black Cake”—about a complex, multigenerational family, set in the Caribbean—Hulu turned to local business collaborations and screenings to bring to life the story through taste and exclusive experiences.
On the day of the show’s premiere, Hulu partnered with six BIPOC-owned bakeries and coffee shops in Atlanta; Charlotte, NC; Chicago; Los Angeles; San Jose, CA; and Washington, D.C. to deck out their spaces with copies of the bestselling novel, “Black Cake,” by Charmaine Wilkerson (which the series is based on) with table coverings and signage promoting the show. The businesses also gave away branded napkins, cups and coffee sleeves and offered free traditional Caribbean cakes shipped in from The Black Cake Company (the perfect partner). One of the cafes even renamed its brew of the day to “Covey’s Coffee” after the show’s main character.
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“We see these businesses as collaborators and storytellers with us because we know that they play a critical role in helping us to drive awareness for our stories, like ‘Black Cake,’” says Adia Matthews, vp-partnership marketing at Hulu. “And they really help us surprise and delight our fans and bring authenticity and relevance to the key audience that we want to reach in our marketing.”
Next, Hulu hosted screenings of “Black Cake” at The Gathering Spot—a Black-owned private membership club with locations in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.—and on campus at HBCUs across the country, including Morehouse College, Spelman College, Morris Brown College, Southern University and A&M College, Howard University, the University of the Virgin Islands, Xavier University of Louisiana and Dillard University.
Attendees received branded journals and “Black Cake” books and enjoyed refreshments at the screenings. Since the events aligned with many of the universities’ homecoming weekends and festivities, more than just students took part; families and alumni were also able to get in on the previews.
“There are a number of different fan bases that we can tap into—is it Caribbean communities or Black communities or fans of the book?” Matthews says. “What we strive to do is create a portfolio of partnerships that will allow us to authentically engage each one of them.”
On the retail side, Hulu partnered with Barnes & Noble to bring its premium members early-access screenings of “Black Cake’s” first two episodes and create the Hulu Page to Screen Collection, highlighting the series, movies and other content on Hulu that originated with a book. Signage in select stores and messaging on Barnes & Noble’s website and social pages promoted the partnership with Hulu, which first started with “The Other Black Girl.” Agencies: The MRKT Co.; The Brand Agency.