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NEW YORK SyFy landed at the top of Santa’s naughty list this year thanks to its latest promotional stunt. Dubbed Jingle Hell’s, the network’s anti-holiday pop-up bar, which was located in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York, offered visitors a bit of a bah humbug twist on traditional holiday festivities.
Open from December 1 to 10, the activation was designed to promote the new series Happy, starring Christopher Meloni and Patton Oswalt. The show, which is based on the graphic novel by Grant Morrison, follows a corrupt ex-cop turned hitman (played by Meloni) and an imaginary blue winged horse named Happy (voiced by Oswalt).
“We conceived of Jingle Hell's as a way to tap into the festive spirit of the holidays while also immersing New Yorkers in the twisted world of the new series,” explained Colleen Mohan, senior vice president of brand marketing for SyFy. “The pop-up bar, inspired by the dark and gritty world of our show, was a protest against the annual insanity of the season, with every detail designed to be discovered and shared.”
In addition to atypical holiday decor like pill bottles and empty beer cans, the “festive” space hosted games and activities such as dirty carol sing-alongs, inappropriate Christmas trivia, and a claw machine stocked with giveaways inspired by the series characters.
Plus, bar-goers could score a free drink during daily “Happy Hours.” The cocktail menu (a.k.a. “Holly Jolly Coping Mechanisms”) included creative concoctions such as Ho Ho Holy Sh*t with raspberry vodka, ginger beer, cranberry juice, and lime juice with a cranberry garnish and Santa’s Cough Medicine with hot apple cider, bourbon, and a cinnamon stick garnish.
Instead of creating the pop-up activation from scratch, experiential agency Makeout (formerly Mash Studio) converted the Skinny Bar & Lounge on Orchard Street into the warped holiday venue. The downtown location was chosen in an effort to grab the attention of the right crowd at the right time. “By setting up shop on the Lower East Side, we were looking to capture a millennial, influencer audience who would appreciate the humor of Happy,” Mohan said. “The neighborhood is also a high foot-traffic area, easily accessible by public transportation, and attracts a young demographic.”