To build excitement for the film Fahrenheit 451, HBO asked Sub Rosa to bring the world depicted to life. Sub Rosa created #Speakeasy451, an event to serve as a platform to bring together underrepresented groups, influencers, and fans around the best of below-the-radar culture.
For three evenings, HBO invited guests to experience a diverse roster of underground entertainment, cocktails, and an introduction to HBO’s dystopian Fahrenheit 451.
Blacking out the windows of Brooklyn’s Union Hall and transforming the gated alleyway adjacent to the bar’s main entrance, we transformed the space into a covert cocktail club. Stunning, eye-catching e-waste displays included our CR TV photo moment, RAZR cell phones, VHS tapes, and other throwbacks that created a nostalgic vibe mixed with a scavenger aesthetic, echoing themes in the film. Additional Easter eggs throughout the space were; projections that had indecipherable graphics to the naked eye, but upon interacting with the light, revealed evocative literary passages; flaming cocktails; and secret A/V installation that featured a mix of flames, white noise, and literary quotes.
Partnering with New York City’s booklover treasure trove, The Strand, Sub Rosa planted secret invitations amongst their best sellers and invited unsuspecting consumers to the event. These invitations brought consumers into the world of Fahrenheit 451 and created a cohesive experiece from invitation to the event, all the while featuring top-tier influencers and talent.
Each night the experience was kicked off by a host, followed by a guest speaker, and ultimately culminated with a memorable final performance. Guest speakers included Director of Fahrenheit 451, Ramin Bahrani; English R&B singer and songwriter, Ella Mai; New York Essayist and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead; Dancer, Choreographer, and the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Robert Battle; then Art Curator and Social Media Manager for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kimberly Drew; Multidisciplinary Artist and Musician, Bosco, plus many more. Each evening, influencers had an opportunity to connect with talent, feel heard, and be a part of something powerful.
The activation attracted hundreds of targeted influencers such as Claire Sulmers, John Yuyi, Chaine Downer, Emilia Ortiz and Rain Dove. #Speakeasy451 generated earn media from The Source, Knockturnal, Out.com, MIC, and W Magazine hitting our client’s KPIs and gaining praise from these culturally relevant media sources we were hoping to make an impact on.