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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

HBO, The Comeback

Entered in Humor


Valerie Cherish came back! The character that Lisa Kudrow embodied so well in the first—and only—season of HBO's The Comeback returned for a second season almost ten years later. So HBO and GLOW not only brought her into this decade, but also rekindled the latent love for the show with existing fans and introduced it to potential new ones with attention-grabbing and hilarious (like the show) executions.

The strategy was to use the show's core influential base in an inventive way to create awareness of The Comeback's return to HBO, create a content package that nodded to existing fan behaviors yet also brought the series into 2014, execute meta stunts and in-story campaigns that played up the satirical ethos of the show and develop content to support re-airs of Season 1 on HBO.

Efforts paid off with high-profile chatter about the show on Twitter from celebs, such as Conan O'Brien, Chris Colfer, Andy Cohen, RuPaul, Kyle Richards, Kellan Lutz, and Emma Roberts, to media outlets, such as the Huffington Post, People, Good Morning America, E! Online, Perez Hilton and Entertainment Weekly Online.

Strategy and Execution

In additional to pre-season and season-long show companion content and messaging, we executed three major activations. Talent participation helped drive the humor, and therefore the success, of each:

#ValerieSelfie: Taking its cue from the viral popularity of the worldwide phenomenon of "Flat Stanley," an 18" cardboard cutout of Valerie Cherish with a personalized audio message voiced by Lisa Kudrow as her character was sent to more than a hundred influencers, including actors, comedians and television hosts. The #ValerieSelfie campaign successfully cut through the clutter that inundates influencers' mailboxes and got their attention. Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jane Lynch, Abbi Jacobson of Broad City, Kathy Najimy, Dan Savage and Paul Scheer among others shared their love for Valerie and the show by taking selfies "with" her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Anderson Cooper dedicated his "RidicuList" segment on AC360, praising the PR people (in this case, GLOW and HBO) for coming up with something that got him "hook, line and sinker." (He also happens to be a huge fan of the show and called it "one of the funniest most brilliant shows ever" in the same segment.)

#CherishChat: Valerie Cherish also hit the Twitterverse for the first time ever for a "CherishChat," hosted by Andy Cohen in November. True to form, Valerie Cherish replied to Andy's questions in her signature offbeat yet candid style. And because Twitter wasn't around when the first season of the show first debuted, fans got to enjoy Val's groping up the Twitter learning curve. @thecomebackhbo Tweets saw engagement rates as high as 12% (surpassing the profile average of 3%), and we gained over 60 new followers. 832 people called Valerie's phone number that was "leaked" during the chat. Fans could reread and re-follow the history-making event via Storify.

"Where Has Val Been?" Social Content Series & Photo Gallery: The first season of The Comeback nine years ago never got the social media treatment, much less social content, so HBO and GLOW had the opportunity to make Val a presence on all the social streams for the very first time. It turns out that Val wasn't just sitting around doing nothing! She was busy, as evidenced by this social content series, which E! Online covered. For instance, she attended A-list premieres, like those for Girls and True Blood and participated in the flash mob trend and of course, the twerking craze.


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