Issue 51 | June 2019
Droga5 New York
Creative Chairman David Droga Chief Creative Officer Neil Heymann Group Creative Director Andrew Fergusson Creative Directors Dustin Tomes, Jono Paull Associate Creative Directors Adrian Chan, Lauren Ferreira Art Director Tobias Lindborg Copywriter Felix Karlsson 360i Chief Creative Officer Menno Kluin Executive Creative Directors Frank Cartagena, Sam Shepherd Creative Directors Andrew Hunter, Doug Murray
Chief Design Officer Jason Severs Design Director Anna Fine Senior Designer Albie Eloy Chief Creation Officer Sally-Ann Dale Director of Film Production Jesse Brihn Director of Interactive Production Tasha Cronin Art Producer Elena Baxter Print Producer Rose Mahan
Group Strategy Director Will Davie Group Communications Strategy Director Samantha Deevy Communications Strategy Director Elsa Stahura Group Data Strategy Director Anthony Khaykin Group Account Director Lauren LaValle Account Director Ola Abayomi Account Supervisor Tori Tessalone Account Manager Ashley Diddell Head of Project Management Paul Eckelmann EVP Consumer Marketing Chris Spadaccini EVP Program Marketing Zach Enterlin EVP Digital & Social Media Sabrina Caluori SVP Digital & Social Media Jim Marsh SVP Program Marketing Sono Mitchell SVP Multicultural & International Marketing Lucinda Martinez VP Program Marketing Steven Cardwell
In April 2019, HBO wanted to attract record audiences for the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones”. Over the previous seven seasons, fans had gone to ever-greater lengths to show their devotion to the show.
In the run-up to series eight, the question was: how far would they go?
A series of activations put fans to the test. Six iron thrones were hidden around the world and fans invited to find them. (A game of thrones, geddit?) Clues were embedded in 360° livestream videos and the occasional tweet. Two thrones were hidden in the icy wilderness of Canada and Sweden, one in a Brazilian desert and one in a British forest. How far would fans go to find them? Between them, 30,000 people travelled nearly five million kilometres.
Elsewhere, fans were invited to give blood for the chance to win a ticket to the world premiere of the new show in New York. 350,000 opened up their veins.
As well as asking people, HBO asked other brands to get involved. Bud Light’s Super Bowl commercial caused a sensation when it showed the Bud Light knight being killed by a Game of Thrones character before a dragon flies in and incinerates them all. The ad was the most mentioned spot in social media during the Super Bowl, a startling example of brands collaborating.
In another tie-in, Oreos created a video showing “The Game of Thrones” title sequence recreated with cookies. And Mountain Dew created limited edition cans that changed colour in the fridge to reveal Arya Stark’s revenge list.
The campaign wasn’t lost in the noise of fan fervour, it became the noise. 6,708,928 campaign mentions were generated in social, with 8,710 broadcast clips and 10,200 articles helping reach a total of over 19 billion media impressions.
Historically, advertising trailed along behind culture, mimicking it but rarely creating it. Not the case here, where the campaign ignited thousands of conversations around the world. It’s a single idea, executed in many different and delightful ways – not the least being the hook-up with Shake Shack, where you could get a special Game of Thrones meal but only if you ordered it speaking Valyrian.
The genius of this is that not only is HBO getting a massive audience for the show, which will allow them to charge premium advertising rates, but they are (probably) charging the brands wanting to be part of its astounding success.
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