Two billboards outside of Hollywood, Calif., adorned with a special hotline number, are launching Amazon Studios’ Emmy FYC campaign for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Beginning Monday, Mar. 19, the “Mrs. Maisel” character of Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) will be taking out billboards to promote her new “client” — the latest comedy sensation Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan). One of the billboards will be located at Hollywood and Argyle, adjacent to the Pantages Theatre, while the other will be on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, just before Chateau Marmont.
Industry insiders will also receive postcards in the mail with similar messaging to what is on the billboards.
“It’s an interesting time to go this early when no one else is out in the market with a campaign,” Mike Benson, Amazon’s head of marketing, tells Variety. “We look at this as ‘How do we drive more interest in the program — deeper engagement — whether it’s sampling a small piece of the show or getting someone to watch an episode or more?’ It really is the same objective whether we’re thinking about a general consumer or an Academy voter: you want to give them exposure to the show.”
The billboards and postcards are printed with a working phone number that can be called or texted. When someone calls the number, they will get to speak with a live person in character as someone from Susie’s world at the Gaslight who will forward them to a clip of one of Midge’s stand-up routines from the show. The first 150 callers will also receive a special gift – a limited edition 7″ 45 RPM record of music from the show.
“This phase of the campaign is designed to be a tease campaign, so there is much more coming, but the idea is getting people to question ‘What is that?’ It’s more provocative than doing something traditional,” Benson says.
Benson adds that with the sheer volume of content available today, commercials or print ads can only grab so much attention. While there may be a risk that some people see the billboards and simply “don’t get it,” Benson says Amazon recognizes the importance of entertaining its audience.
“We’re just trying to create more interest in the program and deepen that relationship with the show and the customer,” he says.
What was most important to Amazon was that the campaign feel “organic” to the show.
“This show’s set in 1958, so there are a lot of things going on, and we wanted it to feel like we were in 1958 doing this. We’re trying to be true to the tone of the program if you call and get a person picking up the phone or the answering machine of Susie,” Benson says.
If someone calls during a time the call center is not staffed, a pre-recorded message will be read, which will also then lead into a clip from Midge’s stand-up. Texting the call center will also receive a response from “Susie” with a link to the show’s Amazon Prime Video page.
“The social component of this for us is important, too,” Benson says. “We’re trying to create something that has more talk value to it.”
Amazon Studios is running the campaign for four weeks starting Monday. It is produced by WhoHaHa, who is also transforming their Los Angeles office into a call center, staffed with their “most hilarious” female content creators, who will answer the phones.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and executive produced, written and directed by Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. The series won the Golden Globe for comedy in January of this year. Brosnahan also won a Golden Globe for comedy actress in January of this year.
In addition to Brosnahan and Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” also stars Tony Shalhoub, Michael Zegen and Marin Hinkle.
See the “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Emmy FYC campaign billboards and postcard below: