HBO Film, Outdoor, Digital, Case study Game of Thrones Season 7 Campaign by Hbo

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Game of Thrones Season 7 Campaign

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Industry TV Channels/Radio Stations and Programmes
Media Film, Outdoor, Billboard, Poster, Transportation & Vehicles, Digital, Interactive & Mobile, Case study
Market United States
Agency Hbo
Media PHD New York
Released February 2018

Awards

Lions Reach 2018
Media Lions Excellence in Media Execution Bronze Lion

Credits & Description

Brand HOME BOX OFFICE
HBO New York, USA Entrant Company
HBO New York, USA Idea Creation
HBO New York, USA PR
PHD New York, USA Media Placement
MERKLE New York, USA Media Placement
360I New York, USA Additional Company
CAA SPORTS New York, USA Additional Company
Chris Spaddacini HBO EVP Consumer Marketing
Zach Enterlin HBO EVP, Program Marketing
Alex Diamond HBO Director, Program Marketing
Krista Jackson HBO Manager, Program Marketing
Paige Newman HBO Coordinator, Program Marketing
Eric Council HBO VP, Program Marketing & On-Air Promo
Sohini Sengupta HBO Creative Director
Anthony Mauro HBO Associate Creative Director
Sabrina Caluori HBO SVP, Digital Media & Marketing
Jim Marsh HBO VP, Digital & Social Media
Emily Giannusa HBO Director, Digital & Social Media
Dolly Meckler HBO Associate Manager, Digital & Social Media
Tanner Stransky HBO Director, Digital Content
Katie Lucas HBO Senior Manager, Digital Content

Synopsis
Situation:

For the first time in seven seasons, Game of Thrones was delayed from its usual April premiere date due to a prolonged winter shoot schedule, leaving us with a longer lead time to fill before the Season began.

We needed to find a way to tell a cohesive story to keep fans engaged during the long lead, and through the season, while delighting our fans with unexpected twists within the marketing.

Brief:

After six seasons of build-up, we needed to let fans know that Winter has finally arrived. And we needed to do it on a grand scale to match fans’ insatiable anticipation.

Objectives:

• Convey the key message: Winter is Here

• Sustain engagement among our fanbase through the lead up to the premiere and in-season

• Deliver new and exciting marketing experiences for our fans

Strategy
We know that Game of Thrones enormous fanbase remains so deeply engaged with the show because they love the unpredictability.

To deliver for this existing audience, we knew the marketing needed its own twists – something fans can’t get anywhere else, from any other show.

With a 6-month window from the release of the first OOH poster through the finale, we needed to sustain the Winter messaging to stay relevant. But to push further – and deliver innovative marketing tactics to excite the fanbase – we implemented large-scale pulses.

We delighted fans with first-to-market activations with Facebook and Twitter. We used a normal poster drop – a standard social asset – to tease a secret trailer drop. We partnered with Major League Baseball to deliver sustained winter messaging throughout the Summer. And supported the campaign with OOH, digital partnerships, and social content throughout.

Relevancy
Across touchpoints spanning digital, social, OOH, experiential, and traditional, we found never-before seen ways to let fans know that Winter had arrived. Synchronized and sequential asset drops in multiple media types created an immersive media experience in key campaign moments.

Outcome
Season 7 Premiere – 16.1 MM viewers – HBO's biggest premiere episode ever

Season 7 Finale – 16.5 MM viewers – HBO's biggest finale ever

Overall Game of Thrones Season 7 viewership – 32.8 MM viewers per episode – Most watched HBO program ever

Trailer 1 – 61 MM views in the first 24 hrs – Most viewed TV trailer ever

Summer Solstice

#1 trend worldwide on Twitter

#1 video on YouTube

#2 video on Reddit

Execution
For six months, we sustained Winter-themed messaging complemented by pulses to build buzz.

First, we dropped ominous OOH in Austin, followed by an Escape-the-Room experience at SXSW. Simultaneously, fans participated in a first-of-its-kind Facebook Live event that allowed them to use comments to melt a 4,000lb block of ice, revealing the Season premiere date.

Next, we released a poster of the Night King containing a hidden message that teased a surprise trailer. Within 24 hours, it became the most watched TV trailer ever.

On the Summer Solstice, we subverted the cultural zeitgeist by partnering with Twitter to create a winterized Emoji Engine, aligned with media outlets for icy takeovers and a first-to-market partnership with Reddit, and released our next trailer.

Throughout the season, we gave fans wintery Snapchat and Facebook lenses, a Comic-Con experience like no other, and brought winter to America’s favorite summer sport with an MLB partnership.

Campaign Description
Since the beginning of the series, fans have been primed with the notion of the impending arrival of Winter. In fact, the first episode of the series was named “Winter is Coming.”

After six seasons, over six years, through 50+ hours of programming, we were finally ready to tell our 30+ million fans what they wanted to hear.

Winter is Here.

The arrival of winter served as the backbone for all media placements throughout the season.

No matter where we were marketing, we needed contextual relevancy – and ubiquity – for our winter message.

Whether we were dropping ominous, icy OOH in the middle of Texas for SXSW, or turning our fans into the show’s embodiment of Winter itself – the Night King – using a Facebook lens, the message was clear: Winter has arrived for Game of Thrones fans.