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Innovation
 

Westworld: The Maze

HBO

Issue 48 | September 2018

Agency

360i

Creative Team

Chief Creative Officer Menno Kluin Executive Creative Directors Frank Cartagena, Sam Shepherd Creative Directors Andrew Hunter, Doug Murray Associate Design Director Brian Gartside Junior Art Director Sarah Arrington Junior Copywriter Victor Rivera

Production Team

Head of Integrated Production Colin Pearsall Executive Producer Jonathan Percy Senior Producer Anna Morro Associate Producer Jose Diaz Editor Pete Slife Motion Designer Kadeem Dick Director, Digital Production, HBO Sohyung Kang Westworld Production Team Kilter Films

Other Credits

VP, Director Business Affairs Andrew Zinker Account Director Danielle Calogera Account Supervisor Allison Guggenheimer VP, Head of Innovation Technology Layne Harris Head of Marketing Chris Spadaccini SVP, Digital Media & Marketing Sabrina Caluori VP, Digital & Social Media Jim Marsh Director, Digital & Social Media Content Tanner Stranksy Sr. Manager, Digital & Social Media Content Katie Lucas Coordinators, Digital & Social Media Content Allison Waxman, Marissa Blanchard Director, Digital & Social Media Emily Giannusa Associate Manager, Digital & Social Media Dolly Meckler Coordinator, Digital & Social Media Charlie Weber

Date

June 2018

Background

Westworld had a history of innovative marketing behind it. With the finale to series two fast approaching, HBO wanted to reward fans and extend excitement after the season wrapped. Voice technology provided a new forum for HBO to extend its legacy of innovative marketing, with a natural AI tie-in to the show’s layered narrative.

Idea

All Westworld fans had to say was, “Alexa... open Westworld” and they were at the very beginning of The Maze, a full scale voice-activated game that delivered a true extension of HBO’s Westworld series, with a total of over two hours gameplay. Fans could enter Westworld from within their own homes, exploring the park as a host on a quest for consciousness. They could choose from three style levels with over 60 storylines and 400 unique game choices, riddled with questions about the Westworld universe. Each game lasted about 20 minutes, if the gamer could stay alive that long. Every element was designed to be as layered and as rich as the show itself. Only uberfans would find their way to the centre of the Maze.

Popular characters Bernard/Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) and Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) appeared at certain stages of the game, lending their vocal talents to test users on their understanding of Westworld lore.

Almost anything could be a clue, which fans enjoyed, revelling in the show’s layers and chasing down every hint and teaser.

Results

The campaign maintained interest in Westworld way beyond the Season 2 finale. 10,000+ plays in the first week led to 500+ million earned media impressions..

Our Thoughts

The writers of Westworld understood and were open to digital ideas even as they were writing the series. And it shows! Everything HBO have done has been interesting – including an HBO fifteen-second takeover. When they launched, the website was designed to work like a travel site, where visitors could explore the locations and the characters. Easter eggs were hidden that would only become evident months later as the plotlines unfolded.

Next, HBO worked with Google to turn one of the characters in the show, Aeden, into a chatbot in Google Home. There were a million voice engagements. So the team knew that talking to people, literally, and getting them to talk back, literally, works.

Voice is already the next big thing. And it’s going to be good for copywriters, because it takes great skill to be able to write these conversations.

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