Chris Reed
May 25, 2012

Game of Thrones is crowned King of content marketing

Rarely has a book –to-TV series been as highly acclaimed and brought such excitement as George R.R. Martin’s  “Songs of Ice and Fire” that HBO created into “The Game of Thrones”.Facebook’s ...

Game of Thrones is crowned King of content marketing

Rarely has a book –to-TV series been as highly acclaimed and brought such excitement as George R.R. Martin’s  “Songs of Ice and Fire” that HBO created into “The Game of Thrones”.

Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg even held a “Game of Thrones” (GoT) BBQ including food from the series to celebrate their IPO – well it is after all secretly called a “nerds series”…..

The marketing and cross over’s have been very impressive.

Martin has written 5 of the 7 books that the TV series will contain and the series itself is into the second series so they should all dovetail for the 7th and final book/season in 2017……depending on his speed of writing which has been known to take years longer than he even thought!

There have been some interesting marketing tactics used to promote the series outside of marketing it heavily in all good book stores (if there are any left in your country……). These include the TV show NY Ink on TLC offering the first 50 people who lines up outside the Wooster Street Social Club where NY Ink is filmed and given the choice of one of the five house insignia relating to the series. Dedication indeed.

Bigpoint, (global leader in on line games and clearly a perfect brand fit for boys in dark rooms into mythical battles), have developed the first ever GoT browser based multiplayer on line role playing game. Inspired by the fantasy book series the game will be set within the fictional (yes it really is, it’s not real) medieval world of Westeros and its 7 Kingdoms.

The TV series is filmed in Iceland, Malta and Northern Ireland…cheap locations who give great film grants and are desperate for the marketing of their locations, none of which have yet exploited this association to target those boys in dark corners who read the book, watch the series and can soon play the one line game with fellow boys in dark corners across the world wide web….

Heiko Hubertz (or HH as he is know…..), CEO and founder of Bigpoint honestly explained “We intend to build a game that resonates intimately with its diehard community of followers (those boys in dark rooms), while also creating an authentic gaming experience that attracts newcomers to the franchise (girls who like those boys in dark corners….). The excitement of online games is that, over time, their collective input will help shape the game’s destiny; we’re eager to see how the story unfolds.” One is tempted to say read the books and you’ll find out first…….launching in late 2012 it will clearly be a massive hit.

If you have read any of the very long and very detailed books, (thousands of pages that focuses on different characters and different kingdoms in each chapter which don’t follow orderly story telling) you will understand that HBO had a real challenge when it came to marketing the show. Getting people interested who had not read the book or who’s friends had and they wanted to join in the excitement (and wear that black GoT hoody…) through traditional marketing just wouldn’t work.

HBO intelligently identified high-impact bloggers (which as these guys never left their dark rooms there were many of….) to educate and inform their followers. Each blogger was sent a box which contained different scents with instructions as to the layering to allow the recipient to experience the “smells” of Westeros (the fictional world of 7 kingdoms…keep up….).

Now these bloggers in dark corners still need to eat so HBO partnered with Chef Tom Colicchio to create GoT inspired dishes and bring the taste of Westeros (the mythical world with…….) to major US cities. Featuring ingredients such as squab and rabbit (no dragon then?), each menu item represented a different region of Westeros (the mythical…..). Some wait months for a spot in his restaurant but without the need of swords or any kind of torture people could experience  both the cooking and the taste of  series on the street in minutes.

The highly innovative and impressive approach by HBO of using sensory aspects of the show to communicate its detail gained amazing amounts of PR and credibility. Each aspect of the campaign created awareness and interest in the series and what to expect from Westeros (the……).

Warner Bros also got into the act as they license HBO content internationally and rather than wait for 6-12 months to sell it intoregions like Asia and miss the boat and be gazumped by illegal downloading they sold and distributed the rights to run at the same time as the series ran in the US. This has paid of handsomely as not only have Warners made a fortune on the sales but it ensured that fans worldwide could discuss the same stage of the TV series on line and therefore spread positive word of mouth.


Related Articles

Just Published

20 hours ago

Uproar: Are animal portrayals in ads a new brand risk?

Advertisers and agencies love animals, because animals sell. But a Year of the Tiger Gucci campaign that made activists growl shows that the definition of what’s appropriate may be evolving when it comes to using the world's fauna.

21 hours ago

Mark Heap on ‘moving across the aisles’ to ...

Media agencies offer broadly the same services as one another, and use propositions like ‘good growth’ and ‘people first’ to establish an identity. But what do these mean, in practical terms, and how do they influence leadership strategies? Mark Heap takes us inside the industry.

21 hours ago

The ride of the tiger: Feast your eyes on BMW's ...

While other brands make long, dramatic Chinese New Year films, the carmaker and TBWA's Bolt have programmed in a very different route: 90 seconds that's 'nothing but sheer joy'.

21 hours ago

The Beijing Olympics: A non-starter for global sponsors

SHANGHAI ZHAN PODCAST: Beijing-based sports-marketing expert Mark Dreyer says the games will see largely Chinese brands targeting the China market, with many employing Chinese-American skier/model Eileen Gu.