Building the HBO Brand with Jason Mulderig

jason mulderig hbo on brand

“When it comes to HBO it’s really about quality, distinction, and uniqueness. And looking for stories that haven’t been told before.” As Senior Vice President at Warner Media, Jason Mulderig is responsible for everything related to the HBO brand—from advertising to promotion—including the new HBO Max streaming service. We discussed all of this and more on this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast.

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About Jason Mulderig

Jason Mulderig is SVP, Brand Marketing for WarnerMedia Entertainment & Direct-to-Consumer, responsible for the branding, positioning, advertising, prosocial, and promotional efforts for the HBO Max brand, as well as the HBO brand and streaming platforms, HBO GO and HBO NOW.

Mulderig joined HBO in 1999 as a marketing assistant in the Affiliate Marketing group. In 2011, he added product marketing to his responsibilities with the launch of HBO’s first streaming app, HBO GO, and in 2013, he was promoted to VP, assuming responsibility for the HBO master brand strategy and advertising for all brand communications, including the HBO linear channel and digital products. In 2015, Mulderig oversaw the brand positioning, brand development, and advertising campaigns for HBO NOW. He currently oversees the national college ambassador program and promotion of HBO’s licensed theatrical movies and in 2020, he also took over leadership of HBO’s brand social media profiles and

Episode Highlights

The challenges of positioning streaming services. In the struggle to stand out among the various streaming networks, Jason framed the challenge as it relates to brand positioning: “What is the right amount of content? It’s the boutique vs. superstore question.”

Launching a brand in the midst of a pandemic. Additionally, COVID-19 presented another set of challenges in the launch of HBO Max, a campaign that was initially built around the NCAA playoffs. “We looked for how we could get to a critical mass—gathering up the long tail of users anywhere we could with high-impact placements online.”

What about Gone with the Wind? Another challenge still was Gone with the Wind. Specifically, how the 1939 film’s romanticized depiction of slavery in the Confederate South is viewed in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Jason talked about how they pulled the movie from HBO Max and “added additional context” to the conversation about the film.

What should you do in the next five minutes? As Tom Peters said on this podast, excellence is the best short-term strategy. I asked Jason what you should do in the five minutes after this show: “Continually go back and look at your messaging, what your purpose is, and what you’re putting out. Advertising can be so expensive. Are you hitting your audience?”

What brand has made Jason smile recently? “I’d have to say Spotify.” Jason walked us through how Spotify now owns every aspect of his audio listenership. I couldn’t agree more. (Remember, you can subscribe to On Brand on Spotify too.)

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As We Wrap …

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

On Brand is sponsored by my book Brand NowDiscover the seven dynamics to help your brand stand out in our crowded, distracted world. Order now and get special digital extras. Learn more.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!