Hulu’s VP of Marketing Brianna Lopez on Understanding Fandom and How She Helped Lead Efforts To Create “Animayhem,” Hulu’s Sub Brand Focused on Animation and Anime

Adult animation reaches a smaller overall audience than other genres, but it drives several billion hours of viewing a year


Each year, hundreds of shows are launched across dozens of linear networks and streaming platforms. As marketers, it’s our job to help both our platform and our shows stand out amongst the clutter and the noise.

Trying to build a new franchise is a daunting task, particularly in specialized categories with devout fan bases like adult animation. Franchises like The Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers – which sit in the Top 8 of all adult animation titles, according to TheWrap – all stream on Hulu.

These titles have dominated the adult animation space for decades bringing in millions of viewers, and the market has become increasingly saturated with new titles emerging monthly.

At Hulu, we want to take big swings but haven’t yet in this space. How do we ensure Hulu’s original content in the adult animation space had the opportunity to break through? And how can we leverage the largest library of adult animation titles already on Hulu to entice fans to new IP? We found obstacles and opportunities to leverage. Adult animation reaches a smaller overall audience than other genres, but it drives several billion hours of viewing a year. Additionally, although 29.3 million Americans identify adult animation as their favorite genre, yet 12.3M of those fans do not yet subscribe to Hulu, according to internal research we conducted.

Hulu’s Animayhem display at ComicCon 2023


Given our content partnership at Hulu, there is an even higher premium on prioritization, particularly among a genre bringing in a smaller overall audience. Every marketer knows there are always too many priorities for the resources available. Over our careers, we’ve mastered how to prioritize and have sharpened our efforts at placing the right products in front of the right audiences. But no matter how strong our skills, we recognize that some products don’t always reach their full potential, and expectations continue to rise. There was a constant push by our partners to surpass brands with decades of experience like Adult Swim.

We knew we needed to look at our efforts from a new perspective. One challenge was that new IP was launched by different marketing pods for every new title. The campaigns would follow a traditional playbook with focused support before they moved on to the next title. It was efficient in terms of resourcing, but the campaigns didn’t always have large-scale impact.

The first thing we vowed to resolve was the human aspect of our resources. In 2022, we consolidated the animation genre under one core marketing pod. By centralizing the genre, we could ensure centralized information, best practices leveraged in the genre, and measurable impact. I recognize that this is not a new or novel concept, but we had to break patterns if we wanted to get different results.

Second, we partnered with our brand team to create a new sub-brand on Hulu. We aggregated all our animation titles – both licensed and original content – to reinforce Hulu as the destination for adult animation. This helped us pool financial resources to create scale for a larger campaign with the goal of establishing Hulu as the ultimate animation destination.

A Futurama themed drone show over Petco Park


Understanding the product is one thing, but being able to live and breathe it in the same way that a fan loves it is another thing. We feel that pressure immensely as we launch new titles because we rely on animation uber fans to drive the conversation. They will proudly tell you when to watch a show or cut bait. If you don’t get the marketing right, they will not engage.

As we relaunched Futurama as a Hulu Original – which had been off the air for 10 years – we had to become the experts so we knew how to reengage the existing fans. Having them drive the buzz for the return of the series was imperative. We needed them to authenticate our marketing efforts as we launched the series to a whole new generation. We went back and read season 1 through 10 reviews, rewatched the entire catalog, dove into threads on Reddit, read every “best episode list” available, and looked at which episodes won Emmys. We had to understand where the heart of the show was and boil it down to a universal truth. What we found was that it wasn’t just a sci-fi series set 1,000 years in the future, it was also a workplace comedy with a relatable, found family at its heart. Our marketing efforts leaned into the characters and their relationships with one another to engage audiences.

On the brand side, the team began to create a sub-brand for animation: one that inherently felt like Hulu but also captured the core pillars of the genre with great storytelling, witty and edgy humor, and relatable characters and relationships. And it was all in the unique name: Hulu Animayhem. It scored high on likability, it embodied a fun, mischievous and playful tone that aligned both with animation fans needs as well as Hulu’s brand positioning.

Together, we worked to simultaneously launch the Animayhem brand campaign and the return of Futurama, and it all started with San Diego Comic-Con: the ultimate fan destination.

A display at ComicCon 2023 showing several titles streaming on Hulu’s Animayhem platform


While adult animation reaches a smaller overall audience than other genres, focusing on the most dedicated audience is key to ensuring that we will have impact. Past campaigns relied on animation viewers discovering new IP on Hulu alone. But among the adult animation audience, we had to meet fans where they were. 

There is no better place to drive discovery and mass conversation among fanboys than a true “con” (fan conventions). These events are the physical manifestation of our devout audience, presenting marketers a chance to break through the toughest of clutter and to have serious impact. While the overall attendance at these conventions does not provide mass reach, connecting with attendees in the right way means their love for your content will go a long way

 We strategically timed Futurama’s return and the Animayhem campaign to align with dates of the San Diego Comic-Con International. It allowed us to bring Animayhem and our shows to life. We were able to tie the Hulu Originals (Futurama and Solar Opposites) with legacy titles Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, American Dad, The Simpsons and Archer. Our efforts at Comic-Con allowed for each title to stand on its own individually, but it delighted fans of all the shows when wrapped under the Animayhem banner.

Both Futurama and the Animayhem brand were supported by a robust campaign, which was jump-started by our efforts at Comic-Con. Fans were treated to dedicated panels of their favorite series, a booth on the convention center floor selling merch from the shows, a robust Animayhem activation titled “Animayhem, Enter the Second Dimension,” and a Futurama drone show.


Hulu was already a standout in the adult animation and anime space, but with the launch of Animayhem – paired with the Futurama launch – we further encouraged adult animation viewers to subscribe to Hulu.

 Hulu Animayhem’s activation, “Enter the 2nd Dimension,” was a hit at Comic-Con in 2023. We had 15K guests attend over a four-day activation, with many lining up in the early hours of the morning just to ensure they gained entrance. The activation alone captured 23% of all SDCC social chatter over the span of the convention.

Through the launch of our Hulu Original titles paired with the Animayhem brand, we were able to cement Hulu’s status as an innovative provider in the genre. Today, Hulu is the top destination among subscribers for adult animation content (Source: Hulu Genre Selection Rating Tracker Nov 2023), and Hulu is most likely to be named someone’s “go-to service for adult animation” among adult animation watchers. (Source: Animayhem Perceptions Tracking Research September 2023)

Brianna Lopez is Vice President, Originals Marketing at Hulu. Prior to Hulu, she worked at Apple TV+ leading Kids Original Series launches; at Showtime working on Dexter, Homeland, Shameless and Ray Donovan. She started her entertainment career at PBS Networks as part of the Primetime marketing team. Born and raised in Santa Fe, NM, Brianna attended Loyola University New Orleans earning a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising & Communications