HBO Sets Good Gifters Apart from the Bad

HBO Video has set up a microsite developed by Atmosphere BBDO to entice holiday shoppers. The site,, is based on the idea of “bringing back the good gift.”

The site aims to give sought-after gift suggestions: HBO TV series on DVD. Site visitors select a recipient, personality and hobby from a pull-down menu and click a button to match the giftee to an HBO series. A hobby in waste management pairs with the acclaimed series “The Sopranos,” while an interest in shoe shopping is the most likely match for “Sex and the City.

The “Bad Gift Gallery” warns of the pitfalls carelessly selected presents. A bottle of perfume from a wife suggests the recipient smells. A gift basket of summer sausage to a vegetarian is simply inappropriate. It’s possible more content will be added, particularly to the bad gift gallery. The flavor is a perfect opportunity for user-generated submissions of gifts passed, or post-holiday reporting.

The online media buy includes placements on,, AOL, Evite, Google, Tacoda Network and’s network. Ads will run through December 23, though the site may stick around a bit longer.

In the past, online ads for HBO Video created by Atmosphere BBDO landed consumers directly on page for the DVD. The microsite acts as a midway point between the ad and a product link on The sitelet is new territory, according to Atmosphere BBDO creative director Patrick Clarke. “We wanted to give people a more branded experience with the site,” he said. “They can interact with the titles in a way that is fun.”

Hopeful recipients can use the site as a wish list with a clever viral element. Visitors are able to send a thank you in advance e-card to be sure they don’t receive gifts worthy of the bad gift gallery.

The addition of the site to the holiday campaign was recently added, and built in about a month’s time. HBO and Atmosphere BBDO await results to see if the concept will work for future campaigns. “We’re hoping that [the microsite] catches on, and that this is something we can do more often and beyond the holiday season,” said Clarke.

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