In an expansive content ecosystem, Recommended By aims to solve a common user problem… What do I watch? According to Nielsen, 46 percent of streaming consumers are overwhelmed by the ever-increasing number of platforms and titles available to them. Decision paralysis and algorithm fatigue have hit an asymptote. Yet the power of word of mouth is stronger than ever - most viewers trust online reviews as much as those from their friends and family.
HBO Max sought to broaden viewer’s understanding of what HBO Max is and the depth of the catalog - not just the next season of Euphoria but TCM deep cuts, a robust animation catalog, and more. HBO Max and ATTN: developed a campaign aptly titled "Recommended By" - a series where well-known talent dug into the movies and series that left them inspired and delighted. Episodes featured Lena Waithe, Bill Hader, Sue Bird, Daniel Dae Kim, Milly Alcock, among others.
HBO Max and ATTN: developed a suite of 80+ “Recommended By” videos that were deployed across HBO Max's platform homepage, social channels, and to email subscribers. We asked Sue Bird about her can’t miss binge-watches, received a film school degree through Bill Hader’s deep knowledge of TCM classics, and had a blast doing it.
In approaching this campaign, we were bringing our macro problem to a personal scale with HBO Max having thousands of titles for talent to pick their favorites from. In partnership with the Research and Content teams we were able to identify smaller lists of priority titles for the platform that the talent could pick from – including backlist classics and newer releases. This personal curation for talent ultimately modeled the solution that this content provides for everyday HBO Max audiences.
While it seems straight-forward on the surface, this campaign was a true cross-functional effort amongst ATTN: and HBO Max internal teams as it is a proof of concept for a larger product initiative for the platform. Contributors from Research, Content, Product, Design, Social, Marketing, and more came together for months to strategize, execute, and evaluate the program with heavy Executive oversight.
Our multi platform approach was taken to the next level with the winning combination of relevant talent, content/editorial tie-ins, full funnel amplification, and higher in-app placement which resulted in higher viewership and engagement. For social, we exceeded our initial expectations by hitting 20M total views across O&O and talent channels, with standouts including 11M views from one TikTok video alone. 48% of users who visited a "Recommended By" spotlight page, began viewing a recommended title or added it to their watch list. All recommended titles saw ‘list adds’ driven by the Recommended By program with catalog classics seeing the most significant lift –– these were titles not being actively marketed in other mediums at the time. Importantly, there was an increase of new series watched per month from users who engaged in the Recommended By series proving stickiness and long-lasting engagement.
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