Cannes Lions

Insecure S4 - Virtual Block Party

HBO, New York / HBO / 2020

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Overview

Background

Each year, fans of the Emmy-nominated HBO comedy series, Insecure, look forward to the new season and the festivities that come along with it. Dating back to the show’s 2016 debut, HBO has launched each season with an annual block party premiere experience combining themes from the show with live performances and celebration of community.

Idea

Season one kicked-off with a block party premiere in Brooklyn. Season two’s premiere returned to show creator Issa Rae’s roots (and the show’s setting) of Inglewood, California taking over a full city block for a full-day experience. Season three took things to a new level with nearly 5,000 guests attending the #InsecureFest block party that converted LAFC’s Soccer Stadium (Bank of California) into a carnival-themed premiere experience. With season four returning after a one year hiatus, the anticipation for the show and the annual block party was higher than ever.

Strategy

With plans to build on previous years and take the event series to multiple cities ahead of the April 12th premiere, the season four launch was interrupted due to COVID-19. Understanding this new landscape (social distancing & sheltering in place), HBO quickly pivoted to create a digital campaign utilizing Instagram to generate excitement.

The campaign was designed to build hype and drive tune-in, in addition to capturing the essence of the beloved event series for HBO Insecure loyal fan base across the country, participating from the safety of their homes.

Execution

HBO kicked-off the digital/social campaign for the new season with a custom seeding kit sent to over 100 influencers, filled with essentials for an Insecure viewing experience.

With the stage set, HBO executed the first-ever Virtual Block Party on Sunday, April 12, 2020. The activation kicked-off with an IG Live Q&A hosted by Issa Rae. Over the course of the hour, Issa spoke with cast and crew Prentice Penny, Yvonne Orji, Alexander Hodge and Jay Ellis and followed by Zaytoven taking over the @insecureHBO handle for a DJ set. After the episode aired, a surprise performance by Jidenna closed out the night.

HBO planned a follow-up virtual event, ahead of the season four finale in June 2020, which included two Instagram Live Q&As, an Instagram Live musical performance featuring Miguel and conversations that amplified Black voices while encouraging a giveback component through support of Black Lives Matter.

Outcome

Overall, the Insecure digital/social campaign garnered over 43MM+ social media impressions and 6.4MM+ engagements over the course of season four. A few comments over the course of the performance were: “Issa has opened so many doors y’all!” and “Thank you for going live! It’s like we are talking with our homegirls.”

As one of the very first virtual events post-pandemic lockdown, the event secured coverage from the industry’s top media publications including Adweek, Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, The Wrap, Shadow & Act, The Root, Page Six and more -- generating over 100 million press impressions!

Most importantly, the HBO Insecure Virtual Block Party went beyond impressions and metrics to circumvent the restrictions brought on by the pandemic, to bring together a community of fans for a brief moment of celebration and joy.

Similar Campaigns

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InsecureFest

HBO, New york

InsecureFest

2019, HBO

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