In January 2022, HBO Max was launching season two of Euphoria, a coming-of-age drama that was originally shown on HBO’s linear channels in 2019.
After a three-year wait since season one, we needed to reignite the buzz around the show, pushing audiences to sign up and watch on HBO Max. We needed to drive episode views on-site for the lowest possible cost per subscription, beating the previous benchmark of $119.
Euphoria season one, was HBO’s first Gen-Z title that helped attract that demographic to its linear channels. But, three years later, S2 was not guaranteed to be a hit for three reasons:
Thus, to make the show a success, we needed to re-engage fans of S1 while reaching a new audience of Gen-Zers.
We needed to enter the environment where they spend most of their time: social media.
Knowing this audience isn’t interested in linear TV (in a 2019 MRI study, Gen Z Cord Cutters stated they prefer no Linear TV service over streaming services), our message had to stress the ease of streaming on HBO Max.
Euphoria was only the second big HBO legacy series to launch a new season on HBO Max (following the comedy-drama series, Succession).
Unlike Succession, however, whose last season had played on HBO just a year before (2021), a significant amount of time had passed since Euphoria had been on our screens.
Given the long break, we would focus media spend on the early part of our campaign, prioritizing a Catch-Up specific phase to bring back old viewers and encourage new viewers before the season premiere.
Our strategy would roll out in two phases.
First, to generate chatter before launch, we would push teasers and promos to fans of season one – who may have watched on HBOGo (on-demand pay TV), HBONow (a now-defunct streaming service), or via linear HBO channels – but might have forgotten about the show.
As buzz built, we would then focus on raising awareness among new viewers: Gen-Zers who fit the typical user profile but might not have seen the show before.
Compared to other HBO campaigns, we would keep our in-season budget more fluid to allow us the flexibility to hone in on audience and platform-specific performance and tailor our campaign to drive efficient viewership and cost per subscription (CPS).
We would keep our target engaged throughout the season across every social channel they use with content relating to the show’s story arcs and teasers of the moments they couldn’t afford to miss.
We would also highlight plot points and cliffhangers via social, digital video, CTV/streaming and takeovers of their favorite teen interest sites pushing people to tune in to find out what happens next.
Gen-Z spends most of their time on social media – so that’s where we reached them.
First, we teased a season two (S2) trailer on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter hinting at what to expect.
Targeting people who loved the first season (S1), we encouraged them to rewatch it ahead of the S2 premiere – by signing up for HBO Max.
Fans spoke about their favorite moments from the show on socials and discussed what they thought would happen next.
Additionally, we launched a takeover on TikTok, driving fans to watch the trailer within the app.
Concurrently, we ran a separate S1 catch-up campaign, targeting new viewers with show clips and recaps to bring them up to speed – and leave them primed for the new season.
During premiere week, we moved beyond socials to launch high-impact takeovers on contextually relevant sites, including Teen Vogue, Them, and Pitchfork, and on music video sites Vevo, Genius and Uproxx. To further our reach, we ran about 36 total OOH bulletins spread across both cities, including at One Time Square in New York and Tall Wall in LA.
Post-launch, we shifted back to socials, sharing the latest episode highlights and cliffhangers with existing viewers and subscribers to keep them hooked.
Five weeks in, we shifted focus back to prospects – a first for HBO Max – with ads pushing them to subscribe and binge the season.
Thanks to our integrated campaign, Euphoria became the most tweeted-about show of the decade – with 30M user-generated tweets put out during S2.
Additionally, we increased viewership over S1:
Ultimately, thanks to focusing our campaign efforts on where our Gen-Z audience was, Euphoria S2 became the second most-watched show on HBO since Game of Thrones.
Fill out the form below and we'll work on connecting you to the entry creator!