Is There Anything on HBO You Can Watch With Your Parents? A Brilliant New Ad Campaign

by Claire Filipek

Have you ever had someone walk in at the most awkward, hot-and-heavy moment of a TV show or movie you were watching? Better yet, have you ever watched an HBO original series in a public area of your house? Then you will be able to relate to HBO’s new ad series, which captures an array of familiarly uncomfortable moments in a campaign for the streaming site HBO Go. The premise: you should avoid watching HBO near your family, or in particular your loudmouth, embarrassing parents.

My family is definitely a fan of HBO and we all watch Game of Thrones and True Detective together, but there is a certain unwritten rule not to talk. If anyone tries to even blow their nose (as I did last night during a whispered scene in Game of Thrones), they are immediately “shushed” into remission (I was unanimously told to blow my nose in another room). I know that this is not really the norm because I have had many conversations with people who were shocked that my family routinely sits together and watches R-rated content together because who really wants to watch a graphic sex scene with their parents? 

Despite my higher-than-average parent tolerance, I can totally relate to the Girls spotlight video, “Your Body, Your Choice” because I don’t think my dad would ever be able to sit down and watch that show. Watching the fictional dad chew popcorn over his daughter’s shoulder while Hannah and Adam do their thang makes me sooooo very very very uncomfortable. 

If a commercial can make me purposefully cringe like that, they’re on to something.

Bobby Hershfield, Chief Creative Officer at SS+K–the agency behind the campaign–explained to Adweek, “The tension of watching TV with your parents is just ripe with comedic moments regardless of whether what you’re watching is even graphic or shocking. It’s just the dynamic that provides so much fodder.” 

The parents in this series seem to have no filter when it comes to commentating on HBO’s racier series such as, GoT, True Blood, and Girls, and they are pretty oblivious to their kids’ unease. Each spot leads to the tagline: “Might be a good time for HBO Go,” followed by a voiceover: “HBO Go. The best of HBO on all your favorite devices. Far, far away from your parents.” But really if your parents are this bad, it may just be time to lay down some TV-watching rules. 

Videos courtesy of YouTube

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