In the battle of the brand, HBO sets fire to the competition
I would like you to consider, for a moment, everything that happens to you a few minutes before you’re about to watch your favourite show. Or what about a brand-new show that you’ve heard about (perhaps right here on The Plum List?) that sounds too good to pass up on?
All of us have our little quirks and rituals when it comes to movies and TV series
It can be something as simple as going to the fridge and quietly breaking off a block of chocolate, cutting a piece of cheese or pouring a glass of milk before settling in in front of the your laptop in the office or propping up your tablet with a pillow in bed.
You then unwind your Bluetooth headphones, introduce them to your ears and cut yourself off from the real world, even if it is just for one episode of Veep.
Or it could be a larger-than-life moment with you running through your dwelling, arms flailing and announcing with fanfare the planned entertainment schedule that is about to commence in the living room and which will continue for the next five to six hours. All have to attend! No excuses!
You puff up four pillows, hastily bundle a duvet in the corner of each couch, make enough hot chocolate and get three bowls of popcorn ready while shouting “Hurry uh-huuup, guys!!” You even call the dogs into the room and put all your teddy bears in rows on the one-seater, counting them by touching their heads with your index finger.
Look, this is also fine-ish, but if the second scenario plays off on a hot summer Monday morning before 11am and you live alone, you might have some problems in the mental health department…
But let’s take the scenario to just a few seconds before your favourite show comes on
Wait, let’s make that seven seconds to be more precise:
Be completely honest now – was your immediate, instinctive reaction to loudly hum: “Dun-dun dun-dun-DUN dun dun-dun-DUN dun”?
It was, am I right? Why not do a little experiment with your loved ones and friends or people you work with. Walk up to them, armed with this HBO indent on your phone and without saying a single word, just press play and witness their reaction.
In the unlikely event of them not breaking into the Game of Thrones theme song, just nudge them a little bit. Ask them: “What comes after this?”
It is almost like a nervous tick
I reckon I will most certainly always break into “Game of Thronesing” every single time someone played me those iconic seven seconds. Depending on the time of the weekend and the number of beers I have consumed, I might even throw in some sort of an awkies dance move.
A close second would be the theme song of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (on DStv Now) on a Monday evening. There is almost nothing better than that shrill, upbeat guitar intro to prep you up after a hard-ass Monday (which honestly starts as soon as Carte Blanche plays their tune on a Sunday evening at 7). You know John is going to fix the world with his out-of-place British accent and you know you will go to bed a more complete human being.
It is crazy how stupidly simple it really is
That is literally all it takes. When you hear that HBO sound, you know you’re in for an awesome ride. You are getting your money’s worth of NSFW action, brilliant writing, acting, filming angles, editing, music and profanity-laced entertainment. That soundbite makes you excited and anxious at the same time.
It is an ingenious piece of branding that almost transports you to a magical TV-land. It creates a high expectation because HBO historically only produces the good stuff but at the same time you know that your high expectation will be absolutely matched on delivery.
Perhaps the clever people say it best
Catherine Jones is a professor at the University of London and had this this to say about HBO in a 20-page essay entitled “Tele-Branding In TVIII”:
“The HBO logo suggests that your television is switching over to a uniquely ‘HBO’ place for the duration of the programme, and hence the logo exemplifies the brand value of providing programmes not found elsewhere on television”
Yup, she nailed it: “providing programmes not found elsewhere on television” – that is exactly how I feel every time.
Some of my best friends are HBO TV shows
Go meet 21 of them them over on Showmax. Tell them I sent you.
- True Blood
- Vice Principals
- High Maintenance
- The Deuce
- Boardwalk Empire
- Big Little Lies
- True Detective
- Silicon Valley
- The Leftovers
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- Sex and the City (uhhm… this is my wife’s friend…)
- The Sopranos
- The Wire… and…
- Game of Thrones (duh!!!)
Dun-dun dun-dun-DUN dun dun-dun-DUN dun!
PS: I am just kidding, Youssou N’Dour. Here is your 7 Seconds back. It is a great song: