- HBO Max is teaming with text messaging platform Community to promote its reboot of "Gossip Girl," per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
- Fans who text the number +1 (917) 809-4277 will receive exclusive "Gossip Girl" content up until the show's launch in July, and those who call the number will hear the familiar voice of the show's eponymous character reveal a key part of the new series.
- The partnership sees HBO Max optimizing a mobile platform to stir up excitement for its latest streaming content. While TV networks and streaming services continue to market digitally as a result of the pandemic, mobile channels like Community are proving their value as effective methods of engaging fans at scale.
Through Community's SMS offering, HBO Max is hoping to provide an immersive fan experience while building excitement for its reboot of "Gossip Girl." Fans who text or call the official number can step into the show's world, engaging directly with its eponymous persona and receiving previously undisclosed information in a way that feels true to the character's muckraking forte. The "Gossip Girl" original series aired on the CW network from 2007 to 2012, and its second launch comes as more networks and streaming services are rebooting expired shows to entice old fans while bringing new ones into the fold.
TV producers often promote shows via in-person events, such as through experiential marketing and conventions like Comic-Con, but given that the pandemic made these efforts impossible, networks and streaming services have had to go virtual to reach consumers in their homes. In March, HBO Max unveiled its streaming portfolio through a virtual SXSW installation. One method in particular that has seen a usage spike is mobile activations, such as WarnerMedia's TikTok challenge to promote "Godzilla vs. Kong." HBO Max, which is owned by WarnerMedia, is hoping to inspire similar engagement for "Gossip Girl" through its text message campaign.
The partnership with HBO Max marks a significant move for Community, which is leaning into its potential as a mobile marketer for TV shows. Originally a platform for celebrities to chat with fans, Community has recently started using its SMS-at-scale capabilities to engage with fans of TV shows. The platform in February teamed with Showtime to promote the final season of "Shameless" by letting audiences join a group chat with the show's main characters. Investors are also interested in Community, which can help marketers reach online consumers directly, with Salesforce Ventures investing $40 million in the platform in April.
As the streaming wars wage on, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services are competing for subscribers in different ways. Amazon bought MGM Studios last week in an effort to beef up its Prime Video portfolio, while HBO Max yesterday unveiled a cheaper, ad-supported streaming option to entice budget-conscious consumers. HBO Max will also soon be changing ownership after AT&T announced last month it was spinning off WarnerMedia and selling it to Discovery for $43 billion.