HBO is will spend more than half of what it spent making the pilot of Boardwalk Empire on marketing the premiere. According to the New York Times, HBO will pony up a little north of $10 million.
“We want the campaign to feel big to reflect the scope and scale of the production,” said Chris Spadaccini, vice president for advertising and promotions for HBO. “We want to position ‘Boardwalk Empire’ as an epic crime drama and make people feel it’s a must-see television event.”
Though I personally am very much looking forward to the series, I worry that period pieces just don’t attract big television audiences. Deadwood and Rome were adored by critics and definitely found adoring audiences, but neither of those shows managed the “must-see” aspect at any scale. Deadwood did get three seasons of 12 episodes each and Rome managed two seasons (one with 12 episodes, the second with 10).
I’ll be surprised if we don’t see at least two seasons of Boardwalk Empire.
Especially with the big push for the premiere, it will be interesting to see what kind of sampling it gets and how many stick around.
At the center of the marketing plans, HBO is partnering with the Bloomingdale’s unit of Macy’s Inc.; Caesars Atlantic City and its parent, Harrah’s Entertainment; and Canadian Club whisky.
All three marketers will amplify the ads from HBO with their own promotions. They include a boardwalk, 115 feet long and 6 feet wide, to be put on the Third Avenue side of the flagship Bloomingdale’s store in Manhattan; 1,920 rooms at Caesars Atlantic City, set aside from Sept. 16 to 30, priced at $19.20 a night; and Canadian Club events at bars styled like speakeasies in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.