When Hulu was developing the marketing campaign for its new drama series “Black Cake,” a partnership strategy with local businesses in major markets was key to driving awareness among target audiences. The local businesses not only allowed the brand to reach loyal customers in person at cafes and bakeries, they helped expand its social reach, with six BIPOC-owned shops posting on social about the series and their collaborative events with Hulu, which featured advance screenings, book and journal giveaways, branded signage and free desserts.
Brands like Hulu are seeing the value of tapping into established communities by going through the businesses that serve and know them and creating hyper-local strategies to bring experiences directly into their neighborhoods. Here we round up recent campaigns that found success going hyper-local to make a wider impact.
- Prime Video Visits New York’s Harlem Neighborhood to Spotlight Black Female Creatives, Entrepreneurs
- Amex Incorporates Local Businesses Into its Chicago Bulls Fan Activation
CREATING COMMUNITY EVENTS
Propel Fitness Water went local last summer with the “Propel Your City Project,” a community event program offering free exercise classes for consumers in Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Los Angeles. At each localized event, attendees were welcomed by a representative from the host organization and a brand ambassador. Propel created and distributed branded signage, wall graphics and equipment to be incorporated into the space during the free classes, in addition to Propel hats, t-shirts and towels as giveaways for participants.
All told, Propel worked with 15 independent gyms, running clubs, hiking groups, Pilates and yoga studios, athletic organizations and wellness communities, tailoring its support to each experience and facility. For example, the brand helped WalkGood LA secure a centralized studio space in a permanent location, and partnered with the Atlanta Run Club to host its weekly track events. Propel met with the organizations’ leaders to identify the resources that would best help them continue to amplify their message. Agency: Invisible North.
INVADING LOCAL HOTSPOTS
SXSW is known for taking over the city of Austin, TX, and Peacock took it to a whole new level with a multiday guerrilla marketing stunt ahead of the premiere of its AI drama “Mrs. Davis.” Cryptic posters of a defiant-looking nun in a blue habit and “Have you seen this nun?” messaging were plastered up and down the city streets. The brand upped the ante with actual nun sightings: traveling around in an “I’ll Be Zap!” Exterminator van with a huge, realistic-looking cockroach on the roof—a photo op in itself—the nuns wandered into a piano bar, boot store, café and doughnut shop. When the nuns infiltrated a taco restaurant during the lunch hour, brand ambassadors passed out flyers redeemable for a free taco. Agencies: Civic Entertainment Group; Ralph Creative, concept and scripting; Civic Entertainment Group PR, p.r.; Turtle Transit, van fabrication.
HOSTING SMALL BUSINESSES
FX Networks built a marketplace featuring local Black-owned businesses in the Crenshaw District of South L.A. for season five of its hit “Snowfall” series. The weekend-long, community-driven event was designed to not only support the shops, but to inspire attendees to pursue their business goals and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
Inside Vector90, a co-working space and incubator, FX replicated “Snowfall’s” 1980s setting and included custom-designed pop-up storefronts for each of the featured local businesses. Attendees could interact with local business owners and shop fashion, décor, jewelry and plants, then refuel with grab-and-go snacks and beverages from Hank’s Mini Market, Harun and Crenshaw Juice Co. They were also invited to take part in a neon-lit “Always About Business” desk photo op. Agency: CSM Sport & Entertainment.
Photo credit: Propel; Peacock/Rebecca Brenneman; CSM Sport & Entertainment/Russell Hamilton