First there was the "Pied Piper" billboards popping up all over Silicon Valley. Now there is "Hooli Sucks."
But this time it's not HBO or its hugely popular show "Silicon Valley" that's behind them. It's Tubi TV — a San Fracisco based streaming service for TV shows and movies, including Korean dramas, comedies and reality shows who want to lure talented engineers with some creative marketing.
Back in April, when the "Pied Piper" billboards went up, "Silicon Valley" creator Mike Judge said he wanted to surprise and delight his audience with real-life advertising. Reached Thursday, Judge said he wasn't aware of the "Hooli Sucks" campaign.
The show — which spoofs tech culture in the valley — follows a group of engineer friends at a fictional start-up, Pied Piper, as they navigate IPOs and try to avoid getting swallowed by their arch nemesis Hooli and its billionaire CEO Gavin Belsom.
Tubi TV CEO Farhad Massoudi said the company came up with the idea because they "love the show."
"During the season, every Monday morning, that's all everyone talks about," Massoudi said. "You're almost at a business disadvantage if you haven't seen the show in the real Silicon Valley. Whereas you once had to play golf to do business and bond with potential partners, now you have to watch and be able to quote from the show."
The billboards launched Thursday. One of them can be spotted on Highway 101 on the way to San Francisco International airport, others are scattered all over San Francisco.
Massoudi said the team picked "Hooli Sucks!" because they couldn't get "F*ck Hooli" approved.
Massoudi said that for Tubi TV, Hooli represents corporations that "ties you into contracts, expensive monthly fees, and stifles freedom."
Tubi TV also came up with a "Tres Commas" billboard — once again a tongue in cheek reference to the "Three Comma Club."
"It refers to unicorns — billion dollar companies. Who doesn't want to join that list?" Massoudi said.