HBO :: Fall 2013 Ad Campaign


Shooting work we are truly excited about is one of the coolest aspects of what drives us creatively here at Jackson & Co. Quite often we get presented with client creative briefs that follow suit with the humorous satire found in our portfolio and we love tackling the challenges that come along with the project. Over the past two years I have had the honor of shooting work for the annual HBO GO college marketing campaign with GMR Marketing in Milwaukee. We’ve built a strong relationship with their team and have worked with them on a handful of exciting projects.

This project in particular was focused on marketing materials directed towards college students to be implemented in their 2013 HBO GO ad campaign, featuring images related to the hit shows Game of Thrones, Eastbound & Down and Girls. Although the project was not direct marketing for the actual shows, the concepts behind them were essentially college-themed parodies related to the HBO GO brand.

Final Ads




Often times when we are approached by an agency with a project such as this, we’re supplied with a fairly thorough creative brief that tightly outlines the look, mood and composition of the final ad mats. Once provided with these materials, we can get a good sense of the style of photography and resources needed to fulfill that vision. With larger jobs like this, so much happens behind the scenes between the ad agency and the photography studio to bring the project together seamlessly including talent casting, location scouting, wardrobe/prop styling, hair/make-up and out-sourcing of various production needs.

When we got a chance to look at the these concepts, we loved them immediately! Below is a quick break-down of each shot, along with some behind-the-scenes elements from the creative brief and two day shoot. This provides a peak at all the hard work that went in to the production of this project:


Initial concept sketch and ad mat mock-up:


Mood and lighting concept board:


Below is the lighting scenarios we created for the shot when we got on location. We initially had Neal Steeno sit in for our model, while we tested the lighting. Our primary concern was to light our model, using a speedlite placed behind the laptop to mimic the light coming from the screen:


Adding in additional fill light to enhances the overall scene, mimic hallway lighting on the male model leaving the room and to highlight the keys in his hand (in the final image):



Final image:



Initial concept sketch and ad mat mock-up:


Mood and lighting concept board:


Prop suggestions and location scouting:



Adam (Art Director) created the iconic “throne” out of red cups over the weekend prior to the shoot. This may have been my very favorite detail of the whole shoot! It didn’t take too long to set-up once we got on-location:


…as you can see Neal, Adam and Brett were pretty proud of the red cup throne:





Final Image:



Initial concept sketch and ad mat mock-up:





Final Image:



Client: HBO
Agency: GMR Marketing
Chief Creative Director: Joe Sutter
Creative Director: Krista Hansen
Art Director: Adam Pryor
Producer: Gina Cirillo
Designers: Brett Stenson, Neal Steeno & CJ Foeckler
Photography Producer: Trevor Nackers
Lead Assistant & Digital Tech: Adam Koepke
Hair & Make-up: Jai Schmidt
Talent Agency: Lori Lins & The Rock Agency

See more of Dave’s work at!

  • Devin Aadland


    This is incredible and so unbelievably helpful for a photographer like myself who is interested in highly constructed commercial work. I love your images and the way you work. I also love how you have this very informative blog. What motivates you to have such an informative blog? Do you have someone specifically hired to create each post after the shoots or do you just do it in your downtime for fun?


  • davidejackson


    Thanks! I appreciate the comment. Truth be told, I wish I could write more tutorial-ish type blog posts. But given my time, it’s really tough. We are a three person operation and I do my best to get these out. And, I write them myself. But I love to share the creative process, not just show pictures. I have no trade secrets to hide and hope that these post inspire folks to get out there and get creative. Thanks for checking it out!!!


  • Lee

    I’ve followed your work for years and I love the creativity and attention to detail that you bring. Thanks for sharing your process! I know you’re busy, so posts like this are very appreciated!!!

    • davidejackson


      Thanks! Will try to get more out there soon!


  • hans

    Thank you David, I love your lighting style not only when you do commercial assignments but seniors and personal images, your work is always amazing and a pleasure to see, love your post production too, but the most that I like is your unselfishness ( I hope that is a word) always willing to share your knowledge and helping us think outside the box and showing us your behind the scenes, that is very humble of you, the very first post that I saw from you was the one that you did creating a circus atmosphere many years ago, thank you once again and wishing you the best…

    • davidejackson


      Thanks! I’ll be sure to keep them coming. I’m in the process of creating some new, fun content!