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HBO Touts 'Boardwalk Empire' DVD Release With Speakeasy, Vintage Cars as Mobile Retailers

Photo: Jika González for BizBash

Before HBO drama Boardwalk Empire made its debut in 2010, talk was already focused on the elaborate set, and the premiere parties that year flaunted a wealth of Prohibition-era design elements. So it was only fitting the marketing efforts surrounding the DVD release of the first season be furnished with the same artfully rendered props. Designed to publicize the availability of the merchandise as well as sell it, the cable TV network's home entertainment division kicked off the promotion on Tuesday by dispatching vintage cars in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. HBO also took advantage of its retail location on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue New York, turning the store into a speakeasy-style environment outfitted with costumed staffers and plenty of visual details.

The experiential setting at the New York store, which will remain in place through Monday, is perhaps the most detailed component of the consumer-focused campaign. However, as filming for the latest season of Boardwalk Empire had already wrapped, HBO was unable to use parts of the show's set. Instead, the network brought in items from the props department—vintage bottles of alcohol, newspapers, and some wooden crates—and tapped experiential agency Zoom Media to produce the rest to the installation. The result is an exterior marked by boarded-up windows and a door adorned with a sliding eye window. Inside the store, the marketing agency and its partners installed walls, hardwood floors, and a speakeasy-style bar, and decorated the pieces with old-fashioned wallpaper, framed black-and-white photographs, and glass tumblers.

Male staffers in period outfits help round out the scene, playfully insulting passersby, asking for a password at the entrance, and showing off the bar's menu by displaying the extras available on the DVD and Blu-ray sets. The costumed characters also manned the mobile shops on Tuesday, acting as bootleggers with DVDs instead of hooch.


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