Adsarchive » Promo , Case study » HBO » THE MAESTER'S PATH


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Industry TV Channels/Radio Stations and Programmes
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Executive Creative Director Michael Monello
Creative Director Steve Coulson
Art Director Thomas Sherman
Copywriter Andrea Philips
Designer Dylan Warner
Producer Jen Larkan
Account Supervisor Zoey Taylor
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Live Events, Stunts and or Celebrity Endorsement
Advertiser: HBO
Product/Service: GAME OF THRONES
Executive Creative Director: Michael Monello (Campfire)
Creative Director: Steve Coulson (Campfire)
President: Jeremiah Rosen (Campfire)
Group Account Director: Marianne Raphael (Campfire)
Account Supervisor: Zoey Taylor (Campfire)
Head of Production: Jason Sutterfield (Campfire)
Senior Producer: Ryan McGrath (Campfire)
Producer: Jen Larkan (Campfire)
Associate Producer: Jakub Popadiuk (Campfire)
Copywriter: Andrea Philips (Campfire)
Puzzle Master: Eric Harshbarger (Campfire)
Art Director: Thomas Sherman (Campfire)
Designer: Dylan Warner (Campfire)
Chef: Craft Worldwide Holdings (Tom Colicchio)
Event Company: GoGorilla (GoGorilla)
Executive Vice President, Consumer Marketing: Courteney Monroe (HBO)
Vice President of Marketing: Chris Spadaccini (HBO)
Director of Consumer Marketing: Lindsey Hogan (HBO)
Advertising and Promotions: Brooke Stone (HBO)
Advertising and Promotions: Anthony D’Souza (HBO)
Media placement: Digital - Los Angeles Times - 25/03/2011
Media placement: Digital - New York Times East Village - 30/03/2011
Media placement: Digital - Media Bistro - 30/03/2011
Media placement: Digital - Entertainment Weekly - 30/03/2011
Media placement: Digital - The Wall Street Journal - 25/03/2011

Summary of the Campaign
Our challenge from HBO was to raise awareness of Game of Thrones – HBO’s adaptation of George RR Martin’s epic fantasy novels. The novels already had an engaged and connected fan base, so our strategy was to give them tools to broadcast their excitement outside of their communities and generate earned media. We created a series of sensory experiences connecting at The final experience was 'taste' and we partnered with a celebrity chef, Tom Colicchio, to create events that would attract fans of the books, food-lovers, bloggers and mainstream press.

Our idea was to deploy branded food trucks in NY and LA serving a menu created by Tom Colicchio and inspired by the rich depictions of banquets in the story. Each day a video featuring Tom Colicchio announced the menu. Fans and foodies needed to follow the Game of Thrones Twitter feed or Facebook updates to learn the secret location of the trucks. Changing the menu and location each day created a buzz of excitement and conversation in social media. Long lines formed, creating a spectacle for bloggers and media to cover. Every day the food sold out. And we generated over 82.8 million impressions (PR and social media).

The Situation
HBO is a premium cable channel known for quality drama, so an epic fantasy series like Game of Thrones wouldn’t necessarily appeal to the average HBO subscriber. We needed to attract this audience to Game of Thrones and reassure fans of the novels that HBO’s adaptation would be faithful. The show features a large number of characters and twisting storylines, so instead of focusing on these details, we explored the ‘story world’. We saw an opportunity to partner with a celebrity to create an authentic Game of Thrones experience for fans, whilst appealing to HBO subscribers, bloggers and the media.

The Goal
Our goal was to create events that gathered together fans, foodies, bloggers and mainstream media. We needed to establish trust between fans of the novels and HBO, and then use these fans to evangelize to both foodies and the media. We wanted to generate social media conversation, blog coverage and earned media outside of the fan communities – our goal was 10 million digital and social impressions. We undertook qualitative research to learn about the Game of Thrones fan communities and identify influencers. Research on HBO subscribers identified Tom Colicchio as the ideal celebrity chef to partner with.

The Strategy
Our strategy was to use a series of food truck events, featuring Tom Colicchio, to attract crowds of people to the streets of New York and Los Angeles – this in turn would attract bloggers and the media. Each day Tom Colicchio released a video announcing the menu, and we pushed out the secret location of the trucks through our branded Twitter feed and Facebook page. The high quality food, glossy menus, designed napkins and branded food truck all communicated HBO’s attention to detail, and gave fans and foodies a story to tell to their social networks. The lines at the food truck replicated the atmosphere of a fan convention, and Game of Throne devotees mixed with foodies and passers-by, creating the opportunity for old-fashioned word of mouth. Food press and mainstream publications were attracted to Tom Colicchio’s involvement and lured into the story world of Game of Thrones.

The campaign was executed as planned. The food trucks were in New York from March 28 to April 1 2011, and Los Angeles from April 4 to April 8. Days before deploying the trucks, napkin designs were unveiled exclusively on Facebook, and a video segment by Tom Colicchio went live on HBO’s website accompanied by a social push to build anticipation. Social media was integrated in the campaign – we announced daily menus with spreadable videos and the location of the truck was shared daily on the Game of Thrones Facebook and Twitter channels.

The food truck arrived at the location to coincide with the after-work crowds. To ensure the quality of the food and create a feeling of exclusivity, only 300 servings were made available each day. To secure their position in the line, fans and foodies were waiting at the locations before the trucks arrived.

Documented Results
- 3000 people served in New York City and Los Angeles – the food trucks were sold out every day.
- Fans of the novels evangelized Game of Thrones, and praised HBO.
- Bloggers, photographers and the media came every day to document the phenomenon.
- Influential bloggers, national and international media all covered the event. Stories in high-profile publications including the Los Angeles Times, The Independent, and The Guardian.
- Conversation and media coverage peaked, creating 82.8 million impressions in the lead up to Game of Throne’s premiere. (3.4 million social impressions, 79.3 million media impressions.)
- 6.8 million US viewers combined for the season premiere (accumulative, for the first 10 days).
- The series was immediately renewed for a second season.