Hello, Newman! Hulu Lets New Yorkers Become Master of 'Seinfeld' Domain

Company Honors Show's Streaming Release With Pop-Up Apartment

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Credit: Declan Harty

Jerry Seinfeld's infamous Upper West Side 81st St. apartment has been brought to life (and moved downtown) for fans of the "show about nothing," thanks to Hulu and Magnetic Collaborative.

The streaming company, with New York-based Magnetic and sponsorship from Toyota, opened the 3,500-square-foot exhibit, which features an apartment replica and miniature "Seinfeld" museum, to honor Hulu's release of the show today. It's the first time viewers can stream all 180 episodes of the '90s TV hit.

The pop-up of the apartment is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday at 451 W. 14th St. in New York, each day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for free.

The strategy reflects a larger trend of pop-ups that many brands are using. Hulu's Senior VP-Head of Marketing and Ad Age Woman to Watch Jenny Wall said pop-ups allow consumers to interact with an otherwise fictional experience. "We try to build one-to-one relationships with our consumers, and we kind of want to share the fandom that we have with them as much as humanly possible," Ms. Wall said.

Pop-ups have grown in popularity with companies including Hulu's biggest competitor, Netflix, where Ms. Wall worked as VP-marketing before moving to Hulu in 2014.

In 2013, Netflix and Magnetic created the Bluth's frozen banana stand in Times Square and other venues to promote Netflix's new season of "Arrested Development." Magnetic has also worked with Netflix on promotions of other original series such as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black."

While Ms. Wall declined to comment on the price to put together the apartment and museum, she said that it was "well worth it."

According to Kantar Media, Hulu spent approximately $38 million on measured media in 2014, continuing a decline for the company that spent $43 million in 2013 and $51 million in 2012.

Ms. Wall said creating ideas to market Hulu's acquisition of "Seinfeld" from Sony Pictures Television was not a problem. In fact, Ms. Wall said the company had had too many ideas.

The issue with the pop-up was the short amount of time given to put together the exhibit and make it as authentic as possible. Ms. Wall said to prepare for the design of the apartment, which changed throughout the show's nine years, Hulu spoke with one of the original set designers.

Larry Thomas speaks with the press Tuesday at Seinfeld: The Apartment.
Larry Thomas speaks with the press Tuesday at Seinfeld: The Apartment. Credit: Declan Harty

On Tuesday, the gallery opened early for press with a cereal bar and special guests such as Patrick Warburton, who plays Elaine's longtime on-and-off-again (sometimes robotic) boyfriend David Puddy, and Larry Thomas, who rose to fame as The Soup Nazi.

In the small museum portion, attendees can see authentic pieces from the show including The Tropic of Cancer library book, Puddy's Devils jersey and the infamous diner table and booth from Monk's Café. The booth and table came from Mr. Seinfeld himself, who had a good deal of the show's items in storage, according to Ms. Wall.

Fans can also interact with the exhibit through recreations of Kramer's blustering entrance into the apartment and George Costanza's "sexy" (yet disturbing) Valentine's Day photo shoot. They can take a look into Kramer's reverse peephole and catch a scene from the show.

"We wanted to make sure that we did something as big or hopefully as big as the show to celebrate it, and actually to sort of to have a mirage and a celebration for our fans," Ms. Wall said.

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