A case study on how Amazon’s experiential campaign to promote a hit show won over fans, Emmy voters and upfront attendees
Clockwise from top: The pop-up restaurant modeled on the legendary Carnegie Deli; classic deli fare like “The Maisel” pastrami sandwich was served by in-character waitstaff; Amazon placed Carnegie Deli food trucks at strategic locales thoughout New York City during the May TV upfront; a poster for Midge’s sandwich; a jukebox playing vintage hits keeps it authentic.
Credit: Amazon Studios/Sol Neelman
In the age of peak TV, wading through the seemingly endless choices on broadcast, cable and streaming platforms is an exhausting exercise.
Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amy Sherman-Palladino’s late-’50s comedy about an affluent New York housewife who discovers she’s the next big thing in stand-up, is one of the few shows to have broken through—at least as a critics’ and awards’ darling, picking up eight Emmys and three Golden Globes following its debut season in 2017. But without the right marketing strategy, it’s easy for quality programming to get lost in the crowd.
The marketing challenge
Despite the buzz surrounding “Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon Prime Video was faced with a significant obstacle: How do you get viewers interested in a series set 60 years ago and centered on a fast-talking Jewish woman whose picture-perfect life is straight out of a vintage issue of Town and Country?
“I like to bring people into a story and its characters as if it were real,” says Mike Benson, head of marketing at Amazon Studios. “A lot of our marketing involves bringing the show to customers in a way that is provocative and entertaining and makes you either want to experience the show more deeply—or ask, ‘What’s this show about?’”
To promote the second season of the show, Amazon partnered with Tool North America to create a “Maisel”-themed Carnegie Deli pop-up on Lafayette Street in New York. The restaurant, which operated in December of last year, featured in-character waitstaff in ’50s garb and offered signature sandwiches named after show characters.
Josh Jetson, creative director at Tool of North America, explains the inspiration for the pop-up: “If you, as a comedian, from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s had made it really big, a deli named a sandwich after you. So we thought that was a really strong way to tie a Jewish deli to this particular show.”
Although the Carnegie Deli shuttered its original Manhattan location in 2016, the company still operates through its Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden properties. The “Maisel”-specific menu included items that would not be amiss in Midge’s world, like black-and-white cookies, pickles and a pastrami sandwich called “The Maisel.”
“‘Mrs. Maisel’ being set in 1958 offers this rich era for us to transport people to,” says Adam Baskin, director of innovation at Tool. “So even a simple trip to the deli becomes an immersive experience for people to connect with the show.”
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