The Bachelor franchise is typically known for its iconic—and ubiquitous—red roses. But this upcoming season, which premieres on ABC this evening, is going gold—in more ways than one. The Golden Bachelor is the first in the franchise’s long history to star senior citizens, including series lead Gerry Turner, a 72-year-old retired restaurateur and widower from Indiana.
To celebrate the highly anticipated new Golden Oldie season—as well as Turner's interests and personality—ABC is hosting a multifaceted campaign with events, photo ops, and, of course, senior discounts across Los Angeles and New York. The celebrations kicked off last week at the appropriately 1950s-style Mel’s Drive-In on LA's Sunset Boulevard, which was transformed into a vintage gold paradise with oversized roses, ceiling projections, photos ops, and a special date night-centric Golden Hour menu (which was availably nightly from 5-7 p.m., of course) featuring a custom milkshake.
Since one of the tentpoles of the show’s campaign is “turning icons gold,” ABC also decided to incorporate some beloved historical landmarks around Los Angeles, with the intention of driving buzz and engagement leading into the premiere. At the Hollywood Bowl music venue on Sept. 23, for example, each seat for the John Legend concert was adorned with a golden cushion—designed to enhance each guest’s “Golden Hour” concert experience with a more comfortable seat, courtesy of ABC.
Other highlights of the campaign? LA's iconic 32-foot doughnut at Randy’s Donuts has temporarily been painted gold, grabbing attention and driving interest in the historic eatery's limited-edition golden doughnut that's available until Oct. 1. The city's historic Pink’s Hot Dogs restaurant also received a golden, rose-filled makeover; it's also offering specials through Oct. 1. To further grab attention, ABC hosted “Golden Hour” food trucks that popped up in strategic, high-traffic spots throughout New York and Los Angeles last weekend.
When crafting the unique, multifaceted experiential campaign, the ABC team knew these types of eye-catching takeovers of iconic establishments could result in impactful recognition and buzz for the new series. The goal, they explained, was to reach not only loyal Bachelor Nation fans but also to appeal to an entirely new group of viewers spanning multiple generations. The team was also inspired by Turner’s personality when cultivating the experiences, purposely choosing locations centered on joy and connection that allowed fans to personally interact with the brand.
The promotions are also expanding nationwide while continuing to stay focused on moments of joy. Gourmet popcorn company Popcornopolis, for example, is offering golden caramel popcorn through Oct. 3, while Pinot's Palette—a paint and sip studio with locations around the country—is hosting special Golden Hour date nights through Oct. 19. (See more brands that are offering "golden" discounts—including Uber Eats, Fandango, and 1-800-Flowers—here.)
The campaign goes beyond retail moments, though. Retirement communities around the country are receiving watch-party kits for the premiere, and ahead of each episode this season, ABC is teaming up with Best Friends Animal Society to highlight adoptable senior dogs and cats. And in a fun nod to Turner’s favorite pastime, ABC hosted an integration with USA Pickleball’s National Indoor Championships, held Sept. 20-23 in Atlantic City.
The network is increasingly leaning into these types of events and hands-on marketing strategies as viewing behavior shifts and fans consume content across a variety of platforms, the team told BizBash. This trend is allowing ABC to bring its brands to life in multidimensional ways that extend beyond traditional media tactics, and lean into the emotional connections that can build greater loyalty. For the Bachelor franchise in particular, ABC’s marketing approach is twofold: It’s about understanding the audience and what drives them, then crafting hands-on experiences with those goals in mind, as well as creating memorable, shareable experiences that extend beyond the four walls of the activation.
ABC worked with Experiential Supply Co. for the golden takeovers at Pink's, Randy's Donuts, and the Hollywood Bowl, and with Creative Riff for the food trucks and the Mel's Drive-In event. Scroll down for more photos from the activations.