Did you hear how HBO Max hacked their way into reinventing their brand?2 min read

Let’s rewind a bit…

  • May 27th: WarnerMedia launched HBO Max to rival Netflix. (They already have HBO GO and HBO NOW which give you HBO content but in different ways.)
  • HBO Max is a standalone streaming service that includes all of HBO’s content in addition to movies, series, cartoons, and more from WarnerMedia Entertainment. (New series and other content will also premiere on HBO Max under the title Max Originals.)
  • Leading up to the launch, WarnerMedia was busy securing rights to shows like The Big Bang Theory, South Park and the Holy Grail of streaming: the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. reunion.

Why not just stick to HBO? 

HBO Max is here to keep things light and breezy compared to the hard-hitting, boundary-pushing and genre-defining productions that have to live up to what people expect from HBO.

In this interview, HBO’s Content Chief described their focus to be much broader. Calling Max an “HBO alternative”, he explained that their content selection is designed to bring something for everyone, starting with programs like Sesame Street and making its way up to young adults.

It doesn’t sound all that different than HBO –and even the marketing team at HBO Max seems to agree

That’s why they’re playing by different rules.

Instead of going through traditional branding channels, their Senior VP of Growth Marketing is employing guerilla tactics to find new ways to start and hijack online conversations around their brand.

They’re tapping into the pop culture built around TV and movie titles that WarnerMedia already own.

They’re building a brand through growth marketing

Growth marketing is all about zeroing in on the user. Instead of waiting for people to discover HBO Max, they got their (digital) boots on the ground and took their brand to their audience.

They’ve been tapping into existing conversations around their content as well as starting new ones through Twitter polls, influencers and by getting into trending memes.

Copyright: HBO Max

Are they getting any results?

To be honest, the whole things is still a bit of a mess.

For the new subscribers, the biggest attraction in HBO Max is still HBO’s original series.

However, as far as managing the HBO brand goes, AT&T might just succeed at delivering a Netflix-like experience through Max without diluting the grown-up and sophisticated vibe that HBO has been building for so long.