HBO will hype the fifth season of its “Entourage” series by screening last season’s episodes on all Virgin America flights, and offering special perks to travelers on Virgin’s new direct New York-to-Las Vegas route.
HBO jump started the publicity campaign last week with a co-branded “Entourage Air” Virgin airliner taking off from JFK Airport ready to screen a preview of the season opener. A select audience on the Virgin Vegas flight was treated to the perks all passengers on subsequent Virgin trips will receive: noise-cancelling headphones, champagne, Godiva truffles, Kiehl’s Since 1851 personal products, Altoid mints and “Entourage Air” blankets and eye masks.
The campaign is aimed to make Virgin’s champagne clientele devotees of the HBO series about the beautiful people who populate Hollywood studios.
“The whole notion was living large and the ‘Entourage’ lifestyle,” said Chris Spadaccini, HBO vice president of advertising. “Virgin was definitely a natural fit. There are a lot of similarities with the Virgin customer, you know, a hip, savvy, upscale audience.”
HBO figures the show’s core audience is primarily males 18-34.
All Virgin America flights will be screening last season’s episodes of “Entourage” through September. Other HBO content also will be screened on Virgin’s in-flight entertainment system through October 2009.
Civic Entertainment Group brokered the deal between HBO and Virgin, and conceived and executed the “Entourage” campaign.
As part of the campaign, HBO and Virgin are also running a sweepstakes for a free trip to Las Vegas. The contest is being promoted on HBO’s Web site, www.HBO.com, with registration on Virgin’s site, www.virginamerica.com.
HBO has also posted a viral video on its site featuring Kevin Dillon as “Entourage” character doing a 60-second rant about not getting blanked out of bucks from the release of “Viking Quest,” one of the faux films his actor-brother appears in during the HBO series. HBO has also created a “Viking Quest” online game at www.vikingquestgame.com to amuse the audience for the series.