- HBO and experiential company Grandesign teamed up to serve free CBD lattes in Brooklyn and Venice Beach, California, to promote the season three premiere of the show "High Maintenance," according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
- The show's star Ben Sinclair visited the Brooklyn event to interact with fans. Both activations sold out of the lattes and served about 1,000 cups combined.
- Results from Grandesign estimate that the events drove about 12,000 in-person impressions from customers walking around with the branded coffee cups and sleeves, along with another 100,000 social media impressions and just under 10,000 engagements across Twitter and Instagram.
By offering free CBD lattes, HBO aimed to drum up excitement for the new season of its popular show, which centers on a marijuana deliveryman. The experiential event also plays into the growing popularity of CBD, or cannabidiol, a cannabis derivative which is available in a variety of different products, like pet treats, skin care and even a line of CBD-infused coffee beans from singer Willie Nelson.
Activations like the "High Maintenance" event are a popular marketing tactic for marketers to engage fans in person, especially for film studios and TV networks to promote new releases and other offerings. HBO has previously embraced the format through a partnership with dating and networking app Bumble. The brands debuted "Stay Home To The Movies" in August to recreate a romantic night in in New York City. The event featured screening rooms, a wine wall, a bathtub filled with sweets and more.
The events are often popular with younger consumers, who have reported that they enjoy in-person and authentic interactions with brands. Brands also tend to see increased social media engagement during these events, as HBO did with the lattes, because the activations usually include striking visuals and unique experiences that encourage visitors to snap photos and post them to social media, extending the campaign's reach beyond those present at the event. These memorable experiences can help to boost brand awareness and build consumer loyalty.
HBO's experiential event also points to consumers' more relaxed feelings about cannabis products and marijuana, as a growing number of states have legalized either recreational or medicinal marijuana. Sixty-two percent of Americans think marijuana use should be legalized, with the strongest support among millennials and Gen Zers, according to a Pew Research Center study. However, the issue remains controversial for many: CBS this week rejected a proposed Super Bowl commercial calling for the legalization of medical marijuana and touting medicinal benefits of the drug.