As we all anxiously await the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones, we decided to pass the time by researching some of the marketing and tech tools used by the producers. We are aware that by the time you read this, the first episode of season 8 will have come on gone. However, the first sentence was necessary to convey the excitement the staff at MPG endures as the clock ticks closer towards this spring time event. It is no secret that HBO has done an excellent job with marketing their hit show, Game of Thrones. Throughout the years, Game of Thrones viewership has not slowed down. In fact, it has built momentum over time. In the final episode of season 7, Game of Thrones had 12.1 million viewers. This was three times the amount of any other HBO episodes, aside from GOT. Additionally, the viewership has increased each and every season. How does one go about building such a strong viewer base amid an ever competitive television market? Easy. Well, not easy but the answer to the question is simple, branding and marketing.
In preparation of its final season, HBO went about partnering with several brands to further increase the shows pre-air hype. Their current Twitter campaign, #forthethrone, has 61,000 tweets and 7.71 million followers. That’s incredible. Since 2011, they have been branding their tails off. Here are a few examples courtesy of Melissa Piccinich at Digital Media Solutions:
Urban Decay – They have partnered with Urban Decay to form a makeup line. “The Urban Decay GoT line features metallic eye shadows inspired by the women of Westeros, a Mother of Dragons highlight palette and a cheek and lip tint that looks a lot like a vial of dragon’s blood and several other GoT-ish makeup items. Teased heavily on Instagram and Twitter, the GoT universe did their thing and spread the word about this much-anticipated partnership.”
Shake Shack – If you can speak Valyrian, you can order a specialty burger and shake. They have released a pronunciation guide that you can use if you need to touch up your Valyrian. You can find it here: http://gothamist.com/2019/04/04/shake_shack_game_thrones.php
Oreo – Oreo has released a newly packaged cookie that is sure to taste bittersweet to those fans dreading the series’ end. “The black packaging features all four Great Houses from the first season and is available broadly. The Oreos x GoT collaboration was launched via a re-creation of the series’ original opening sequence fashioned entirely out of Oreos.” You can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmf-6TYjGuQ
Ballagio Hotel – The fountains outside the Ballagio were turned into a four minute light and water display featuring Game of Thrones. “Through a series of special effects, Lake Bellagio is set ablaze and then turned to ‘ice,’ while dragons soar through the crashing waves, and illuminated water jets reveal the outline of the crown and Iron Throne, projected against a wall of water.”
Mountain Dew – The Faceless can was released by Mountain Dew and featured Arya Starks famed hit list. What appears to be a plain white can without an identity – like the Faceless Men (nameless assassins of Braavos) – actually reveals Arya’s past and future kill list as it chills.”
As if the above wash’t enough to entice more people to tune in to the buzz worthy show, HBO has targeted Millennials with an aggressive marketing strategy. This strategy entails utilizing the worlds most well known social media platforms and digital music providers to push the Throne onto unsuspecting subscribers. “The network gave five rising artists free reign to recreate key scenes from the show’s past seasons, each in a different medium to bring the #ArtTheThrone campaign to life.” (The Buzz Bin) HBO also teamed up with Spotify to form a website called, “With Whom Do You Listen.” This site analyzed your listening history and matched it with the character best associated with your music taste. Fans then in turn shared this on social media, driving traffic to the site. All of this seemingly pales in comparison to what HBO pulled off when revealing the 7th season premier date. “HBO conducted a Facebook Live broadcast, using fire to melt a block of ice containing the date, asking users to comment “FIRE” or “DRACARYS” to reveal it. Though there were some technical difficulties with execution of the stunt, more than 162,000 people stuck around for reveal.” (The Buzz Bin)
All of the above strategies have helped to make Game of Thrones one of the most popular television shows in the world. One may argue that a huge amount of money has helped thrust this show into the spotlight. However, some of the campaigns that HBO undertook can be done relatively easily and with the help of a marketing agent. This all goes to show that utilizing social media and associating your product with a brand can go a long way towards hyping up your product and generating a loyal customer base. If you would like to view some amazing stats on HBO’s Game of Throne’s, check out this website that contains nothing but statistical facts: https://www.statista.com/topics/4187/game-of-thrones/.
Game of Thrones artwork from is from HBO