Cinemax is debuting a new series tomorrow, called “Banshee,” which sounds so hackneyed—”It follows the story of an ex-con and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, PA, where he continues his criminal activities, even as he’s hunted by the shadowy gangsters he betrayed years earlier”—it must have needed a marketing concept that was just as obvious.
So: GIFs, and not just a snippet here and there. That would be so 2012. Lots of GIFs, chase scene GIFs, roulette scene GIFs, blow job GIFs, “You fucked my wife”-scene GIFs, even. (Well, these of these are kind of wonderful.) But there’s more: You can even watch the entire first episode in 12 sequences of GIFs.
Betabeat reached out to Cinemax, hoping to find an exec who could explain why the network went so GIF-happy. We didn’t get to talk to anyone, but we did get some emailed quotes from Chris Spadaccini, a senior vice president of brand and product marketing at HBO, Cinemax’s parent company. Better yet, we didn’t even have to ask a question (the helpful prompts below also came from the company).
Why did you choose to use GIFs as a way to promote your new original series, Banshee?
“The GIF format has emerged as a popular visual language across the internet and provides a creative way into social conversations by leveraging existing online behaviors. It allowed us to tease the world of ‘Banshee’ using a retro-cool technology and encourage users to engage with a range of provocative moments from the series. The GIFs also tie back to the visual style of the series by referencing the cinemagraphs in the opening title sequence.”
Is this the first time that a program has used GIF for a full premiere?
“This is the first time a program has used GIF for a full premiere. It is also the first time that we’ve used GIFs in this way to promote an upcoming Cinemax series.”
What makes the Banshee series suited for this kind of roll out?
“‘Banshee’ is an action-packed series filled with colorful, idiosyncratic characters and elements of heightened reality. The GIF premiere allowed us to give viewers a taste of this unique world without taking away from the experience of watching it live.”