Ad of the Day: Watching Sex Scenes With Your Parents Is Weird, Says HBO

With HBO Go, you don't have to

Headshot of Tim Nudd

As someone who once, as a teenager, was watching this George Carlin bit when his parents walked into the room, I can appreciate SS+K's new HBO campaign, aimed at millennials, which rightly attests that some programming is just better consumed without your mom and dad around.

Seven new online spots feature awkward family scenes where a pair of hyper-oblivious parents sit down with their young-adult son and daughter to watch some of HBO's notoriously racy shows—among them, Girls and Game of Thrones.

It doesn't go that well.

Most of the spots involve the family silently watching sex scenes—always a good time, especially when the old folks pipe up with cringe-worthy banter. (Part of the humor here derives from Mom and Dad not actually seeming uncomfortable enough.) All of the ads end with the on-screen line, "Might be a good time for HBO Go," followed by a voiceover: "HBO Go. The best of HBO on all your favorite devices. Far, far away from your parents."

The better spot are the subtler ones—in particular, "Your Body, Your Choice" and "Faithful Dad." (The parents are maybe drawn a little broadly in some of the spots.) But most of them should earn a flash of recognition from young people, and may even drive consideration for HBO Go—a streaming service that's apparently pretty good, when it's working.

"The tension of watching TV with your parents is just ripe with comedic moments regardless of whether what you're watching is even graphic or shocking. It's just the dynamic that provides so much fodder," says Bobby Hershfield, chief creative officer at SS+K.

Adds senior copywriter Lindsay Lanpher: "From personal experience, it's always better to watch TV without your mother reminding you you're going to hell."

The seven videos will run on BuzzFeed and in HBO's YouTube and Twitter feeds. They were directed by David Shane of O Positive Films.


Client: HBO

Project: "Awkward Family Viewing"

Agency: SS+K

Chief Creative Officer: Bobby Hershfield

Senior Copywriter: Lindsey Lanpher

Copywriter: Richard Tseng

Senior Vice President, Director of Production and Innovation: John Swartz

Senior Producer: Kim Cross

Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy and Innovation: Kevin Skobac

Vice President, Group Account Director: Jennifer Barr

Production Company: O Positive

Director: David Shane

Executive Producers: Ralph Laucella, Ken Licata

Director of Photography: Marc Laliberte Else

Editing: Mackenzie Cutler

Editors: Gavin Cutler, Ryan Steele

Post Producer: Evan Meeker

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.