HBO has partnered with YouTube star and inventor Simone Giertz in an effort to build excitement about the launch of Westworld season two among the network’s growing audience of cable-cutting, OTT-adopting viewers.
Giertz, known for building wacky robots, constructed a "host" – or robotic – version of herself in honor of Westworld’s new season airing on April 22. The majority of Giertz’s followers are male and more than half are 18 to 44 years old with interests in robotics, science and technology. This was a match for HBO and its growing number of viewers coming in from non-traditional sources, like over-the-top steaming services and digital platforms who reportedly skew male.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler also said late last year that the video service plans to launch "one global platform" for its OTT services sometime in 2018. As of February, subscribers to HBO Now and other direct-to-consumer OTT options from HBO surpassed five million, according to a report from Multichannel News.
Giertz’s YouTube video, which includes a splice of her rather creepy host robot in a scene from Westworld, went live earlier today and already has nearly 25,000 views.
"Working with the right creators, and using audience insight tools like Tubular Labs, brands can begin to think of YouTube as a targeted media buy to audiences with narrowly defined interests - with pre-and-post validation analytics to give them the confidence they need to feel they’re hitting the right targets," said Zach Blume, managing director and co-founder of Portal A, which worked with Giertz on the campaign.
He added: "YouTube has much larger scale and is far more segmentable and, refined by core interests. When you brand and elevate content to break through, it makes for a uniquely persuasive and direct connection with the creators’ audience."
From an HBO perspective, Giertz was the right match for the Westworld launch because of her comedic style and focus on robots, said Emily Giannusa, director of digital & social media at the network.
"HBO is a brand that fosters authentic creative voices and fandoms around our programming, so this partnership was a natural fit to invite new viewers to tune-in to Westworld season two," Giannusa said.