A big story to tell in tighty-whities
Billboard for HBO's 'Hung' is of a pair of underwear
March 26, 2010
There is absolutely no mistaking what this image stands for: A very well-endowed man.
The billboard has been designed to look as though a piece of white fabric has been stretched tightly across it.
At the bottom center of the billboard, there’s a distinctive bulge, which projects a couple feet out from the rest of the billboard and at least a foot below. If you’ve ever seen a pair of tighty-whitey underwear, you know what that bulge represents.
The rest of the billboard looks as though the fabric is straining to keep that distinctive bulge in check.
At the very top of the billboard, the fabric looks like it’s being pulled down by the weight of the package below. A bit of wood peeks out from the fabric at the top. The material looks as though it may burst at any second.
Written across the center of the billboard in huge black letters is one very telling word: “Hung.” In the lower right-hand corner, there’s a logo for TV ONE, the edgy New Zealand broadcaster.
“Hung,” of course, is the title of HBO’s show about a well-endowed male prostitute. It is also one of the few new shows on TV ONE this year, with the bulk of its schedule returning shows that people are already familiar with.
TV ONE wanted to draw attention to the new show in a way that played off “Hung’s” naughty premise. The network’s agency, Colenso BBDO, came up with the idea for the billboard pretty quickly.
“We figured the simplest way to advertise a show called ‘Hung’ was to hang a billboard off its backing in such a way that makes the billboard look ‘Hung’ too,” says Celeste Pullman, account director on the campaign.
Colenso BBDO collaborated with New Zealand signage company Rocketsigns to produce the 20 foot by 10 foot billboard, which was made from polystyrene mounted on plywood backing board. A heat-shrinking white film was used over the entire face of the billboard to create the straining effect, and vinyl graphics were added for the type.
“This was a very time-consuming and delicate operation since, when heated, the film was subject to ripping,” Pullman says. “The material had to be stretched over the top corners to give it the downward pull.”
Colenso BBDO chose one location, Victoria Street in Auckland City.
“It was a bargain at $12K for production,” Pullman says. “Just the one location, that’s all we needed.”
As one might imagine, the suggestive stunt received a huge amount of publicity, which was the genius of the campaign. The free exposure across the country and around the world, including a mention on Perez Hilton’s blog, probably gave TV ONE double its money’s worth.
Though Pullman says the agency took care to ensure the billboard wasn’t too offensive, there have been two complaints to the nation’s advertising standards authority, which is examining the case.
“We’ve received heaps of comments “ mostly good, a couple bad,” she says.
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