TV & Streaming

How Max brought the world of ‘Sex and the City’ to life

To promote the franchise’s 25-year anniversary and the second season of “And Just Like That…,” the streamer placed ads in subways, the New York Times, and took over an event space in SoHo.
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Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Max

· 4 min read

Nearly a year ago, the marketing team at Max began working on plans to promote the second season of And Just Like That…, the spinoff of the popular HBO series Sex and the City.

And then they realized…there was an anniversary to celebrate first. The 25-year anniversary of the first episode of Sex and the City, to be exact.

“When we discovered that the anniversary was falling directly in the promotional window, we were like, truly, there’s no better opportunity,” Dana Flax, VP of Max Originals marketing, told Marketing Brew. “We could celebrate everything that has meant so much to fans about the original series, and give them that sneak peek of the new season.”

The resulting campaign, which began rolling out this month ahead of today’s premiere of And Just Like That…’s second season, has included an extensive presence throughout New York, including a full-page ad in the New York Times, ads and voice-overs in the New York City subway system, and a recreation of the series’ most iconic locations and looks inside a SoHo pop-up.

Beyond the city limits, Flax spearheaded a full-scale digital and social campaign, out-of-home ads in malls across the country, and a linear TV presence, like a sponsored Sex and the City marathon on E!

Welcome to New York

In lower Manhattan earlier this month, well-dressed attendees lined up for entry to the pop-up. Inside, replicas of Carrie Bradshaw’s stoop, apartment, and writing desk offered opportunities for visitors to have their photos snapped. A partnership with the creative studio Framestore let attendees walk inside Carrie’s closet and see some of the most memorable looks from the series and its spinoffs on vertical screens. A few steps further, more iconic looks were on display, including a wall of shoes and glass cases full of curated outfits, bags, and shoes.

Alongside designers like Manolo Blahnik and Fendi were other brands. LG sponsored a screen playing series clips; Post-It backed an interactive wall nodding to the show’s infamous break-up Post-It; and Ketel One sponsored a bar serving Cosmopolitans (and a mocktail equivalent). Before exiting, attendees could stop at a merch table and purchase branded memorabilia.

image from 2023 Sex and the City pop-up event

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Max

Max worked with agency RQ to bring the pop-up to life, Flax said, but the real stars of the show were franchise director and writer Michael Patrick King and star Sarah Jessica Parker, both of whom attended the pop-up and were closely involved in its creation. Flax credited the stoop and laptop photo-ops to King, and said the merchandise shop was Parker’s idea.

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Over the span of four days, nearly 4,000 people moved through the event space, “which sort of blew the KPI that we had set out of the water,” Flax said; the company was expecting around 3,000 attendees. While Flax declined to share exact sales figures from the merchandise stand, she said they sold more than 80% of the products it had brought in.

The New York pop-up experience will be replicated elsewhere, including in Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, and the UK, Flax said. That didn’t prevent some fans from traveling for the New York experience.

“We heard stories from people who literally flew there from all around the world,” Flax said. “There was this one woman I spoke to who flew in from Aruba.”

And Just Like Max

For Flax, the promotional efforts aren’t just about building fandom, or getting viewers excited about tuning into season two. It was also designed to help boost Max, the recently rebranded streamer from parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.

In the full-page ad that ran in the New York Timesa love letter to New York signed by Sarah Jessica Parker and the cast and crew of the show—a QR code in the bottom-right corner redirected readers to a hub on Max featuring franchise titles, curated extras, and Parker’s favorite episodes. A digital out-of-home campaign featuring the same code encouraged viewers to check out the collection directly on Max, which requires a subscription.

“We very much believe that top-of-funnel efforts are really critically important to gaining subscribers,” Flax said. “We really love to harness and leverage the strength of our IP to get subs in the door.”

imagery from 2023 Sex and the City pop-up

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Max

The full results of the marketing blitz have yet to be tallied, but Flax said early signs are encouraging. Throughout it all, Flax said she was cognizant of the importance of delivering for the show’s viewers—whether they’re new or have been watching since the first episode aired 25 years ago.

“Trust me that the weight of the fans’ love of this franchise was weighing heavily on my back going into this,” she said. “The worst thing that could have possibly happened is for people to show up and be disappointed.”

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