The Off-Season

Game of Thrones season premieres and post-season periods are often accompanied by marketing campaigns of various kinds. For those who missed them while they happened, here they are.

This article describes marketing for the early seasons of Game of Thrones, like themed food trucks and tattoos. Also, prior to the season one premiere, HBO launched The Maester’s Path, an alternate reality game to promote the first season.

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RoastJoffrey is described as the first-ever social media roast, when general hatred of Joffrey Baratheon peaked after the Red Wedding episode. As this article explains, the campaign launched on December 12 2013, and allowed fans (and even the GoT cast themselves) to roast the ‘vicious idiot’. Particularly impressive burns were rewarded with Joffrey GIFs.

In 2014, GoT launched the TakeTheThrone campaign, which composed fans’ GoT-related tweets into a digital Iron Throne.

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For the season five premiere, HBO and 360i launched #CatchDrogon, in honour of Daenerys’ lost pet. Fans either shared GIFs from the bait shop or made their own, and waited for a glimpse of the dragon (i.e., a tweet from @GameOfThrones). The official Instagram even featured a stop-motion bait film. The campaign was so successful it increased viewership by 21% and won a Shorty award for its ingenuity.

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A few months after the season six finale in 2016, HBO launched a website for the GOT party (most probably as a parody of the US elections that year). Instead of the usual “the Iron Throne is mine by right” natter, fans could vote for the ruler they wanted. This snapshot from the Internet Archive displays the website at the beginning of the voting (albeit with some glitches, like the election countdown chart). The month-long campaign also included promotional videos and attack ads, and support kits and Internet pledges. On September 1, Jon Snow was declared elected winner (despite Littlefinger actually leading in week 2), and the website was modified to suit its new message.

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