There is no other show in recent memory that has captured an audience like Game of Thrones has. The show hosts a massive fandom of outspoken and engaged viewers. Game of Thrones has permeated every aspect of pop culture and it makes sense to see companies leveraging the show’s success to improve their own bottom line. Games of Thrones marketing cross-overs have taken the world by storm over the last year with a variety of brands leveraging the show in their own unique ways.
Hate it or love it, piggybacking off the success of cultural icons is nothing new. You saw it with Marvel’s Avengers and Geiko, Disney’s Moana and Dole, Star Wars and McDonald’s, and the list go on and on. Whether its obvious pandering or a careful marketing campaign strategy, marketing tie-ins like these work!
Leveraging pop-culture phenomenon in a memorable way, that creatively combines the product or service is an art in itself. Here are some of the best ways brands incorporated Game of Throne into their marketing.
Bleacher Report, founded in 2007, is a rapidly growing professional sports publication and website. It focuses on everything related to sports and sports culture. However, they are the most well-known for Game of Zones, their Game of Thrones-inspired sports parody. It started off a small one-off video where the premise parallels various professional basketball teams and players to houses and characters on Game of Thrones.
Initially, the campaign was created to promote the upcoming NBA playoffs. However, it has now become but now has become a full-blown web-series. It has fully taken on a life of its own, with its own stories and plot twists, Game of Zones has now become its own internet sensation. On average, the web-series garner ~2 million views and continues to gain in popularity. It deserves a place on this list for its success on building a spin-off that became its own organism outside the show itself.
Next up on our list is KFC seamless addition of Game of Thrones in an already great marketing campaign. As the old adage goes, “Don’t fix what ain’t broken”, and we see that with KFC. KFC’s Hot and Spicy campaign received critical and public acclaim with this campaign, garnering awards and huge applause for its clever, yet simple ad that replaced flames with KFC chicken.
But the clever combination of fire-breathing dragons and chicken takes the cake. This is KFC at their most playful and creative, while successfully leveraging the popularity of the show and rightly deserves a place on this list.
This example is wonderfully synergistic. HBO partnered with MGM to create a Game of Thrones inspired spectacle using the world-famous Bellagio fountain show to tease the season premiere of Game of Thrones. This is a great marketing strategy that benefits both MGM Resorts and HBO. While the event was being live streamed on social media, fans lined up by the fountains to watch. This proved to be worth the cost of the mechanic and the pyrotechnics involved because the event gained millions of views.
It was a 5-minute fountain show of epic proportions. It featured blizzards storms, a lake ablaze and dragons, all beautifully choreographed to music and projections. The sheer extravagance and epic-ness of the display are enough to earn a spot on our list.
Twitter has always been the platform for fans of the show to voice their opinions, positive or not. They capitalized on this by developing custom Game of Throne emojis. Fans used the character emojis to predict the show’s outcome.
This campaign shamelessly exploited the very vocal Game of Thrones fans mentioned earlier. These are fans who are not only used to voicing their opinion, but ultra-eager to do so. Twitter quite brilliantly cemented their platform – over every other social media platform – as the platform to discuss Game of Thrones.
Out of all the companies who actually incorporated Game of Thrones into their products, Mountain Dew is our favourite. Mountain Dew successfully implemented a number of marketing strategies in a fleshed-out marketing movement.
This campaign unveiled a limited-edition release of a blank can, that when cooled, revealed the names of Arya’s kill list. It was not open to the public for retail but was available to those who participated in a scavenger hunt. The campaign has a social media presence of its own, with the creation of the #ACanHasNoName hashtag. Additionally, Mountain Dew’s Twitter page announced clues to the location of the can. It had celebratory endorsements from athletes, rappers and actors. With the innovative use of technology with the product, social media hype, scarcity, tie-ins to Game of Thrones, and celebratory endorsements, this campaign is a checklist of textbook marketing strategies of 2019.
That rounds up our favourite Game of Thrones marketing cross-overs! Which Game of Thrones Inspired Marketing Campaigns was your favourite?