Game of Thrones is definitely the most popular topic right now; if you check any social network, it will be easy to find posts about the show, from news and facts to memes. But what is the real impact? Is it really the best TV series of all time? Today, 786.Marketing will be trying to answer those questions!
The history of Game of Thrones
GOT is a TV show based on the story created by George R. R. Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book, A Game of Thrones, was published back in 1996. Martin never expected the impact that his story will create. But, before the TV series, this saga had a small but strong group of fans around the globe, thanks to the details, characters, intrigue, battles, background history, and the complicated threads that bring them together.
The excellent story captured the attention of David Benioff and D. B. Weiss that started to work on the creation of a series in 2006. The HBO network was the one that gave them the green light to start production in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2011 that it was aired. When the show started no one expected the popularity; of course HBO is well known for excellent productions such as The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, but the scale of impact that the series has at this moment is something beyond their imagination.
The impact of GOT
After seven seasons with the eighth almost over, the final episode will be aired this Sunday. The show has proved how a single tale can leave its own print on the popular culture, with a huge fandom to back it up. Many companies and brands have been using the show to promote their products and services, creating an incredible revolution in the marketing area.
The rating increased from season to season, with a total of 13,738,000 viewers for the premiere of the eighth. That gives a huge audience to work with for every company around the globe, with more than 13 millions of possible clients. It is important to understand, that so many people liking the same thing in an era with lots of contents it is just amazing, but all of this is thanks to the hard work of the creators, actors and production team, plus the fantastic imagination of George R. R. Martin, and the excellent marketing campaign from HBO.
The fandom of Game of Thrones is so huge, that every geek convention has a place exclusively dedicated to the story, where actors, the creators and even Martin appear to delight the fans. The actors have become so famous that now they appear in movies and all kind of ads, with millions of followers on their social networks accounts to interact with every post. Its merchandise is so diverse, that it can go from clothing to home accessories, contributing with millions of dollars to the trend that GOT has become.
But after more than 10 years preparing and producing a show, based on a book series that isn’t finished, how has GOT managed to succeed and become the best series of all time? The answer probably lies at the marketing that HBO has been working with since the premiere.
Secrets behind the Game of Thrones’ Marketing
The marketing for the show has been the focal point of its impact. Of course, the storyline is so good to captivate the audience, but now it’s not just watching the episodes or reading the novels, it goes beyond that. The social networks have been a great help to promote the mega hit that Game of Thrones is, but it has a huge campaign behind. Let’s find out more about it!
Surprise the audience
The story is full of shocking moments, from the finale of the first season to the infamous “red wedding.” The list of those moments, when the audience thought that will never happen, is quite long. A story should surprise the audience but GOT has taking this point to a whole new level, because let’s be honest no one would think that the hero can die at the beginning, right? Well, this show has changed that perception, now everybody has learned not to love a character or to expect a happy ending.
With that in mind, the marketing has been focusing too much in the surprise element, to provide quality content in the social networks before or after every episode Twitter explode with hashtags and tweets about it. However, the very own official account makes an excellent work with this, take for example this tweet from the last episode:
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) 13 de mayo de 2019
They always capture the attention of the audience in the social networks, from quotes to gifs, to keep the surprise element in the minds of the viewers; besides, the tons of information about every episode with the official hashtags and the one made by the users. They never let a crucial scene be forgotten on the networks!
Marketing in the long term
One of the interesting points of the story is that they only show 10 episodes for the first six seasons, with the last two with fewer episodes, and after the season is aired it would be normal to move on with the next thing that captures the attention. But actually, GOT keeps with the audience beyond those episodes thanks to planning at the long term.
“Winter is coming” is the motto of the Stark family, but it has become the most famous TV line and the one that defines the show. This line is so important that, while the show was on hiatus, the official networks used it as a reminder of the upcoming seasons. Now, it can be well used that no matter the end, Winter and GOT will be forever with us.
But it is not just about the story; everything around it will be in the hearts and minds of the viewers and fans around the globe. This series was perfectly planning, to last forever, every detail, character, and place is engraving in the audience, and even when there are a few that don’t completely understand the story they know a little bit about. That is the goal of the long term, to make the show one that will be talked about in the years to come.
Collecting an army of followers
The story has been catching the audience for 8 years, but the work of marketing behind and outside the set is the real creator of the Game of Thrones trend and brand. HBO is well known for making good campaigns for every show, movie and even documentaries; but with GOT they put all the efforts to make it the best show of the network after the success of the first two seasons. What they never imagine was the impact around the world, in which now they are working.
Making it simple, collecting a vast legion of fans that will love and hate the show equally no matter the final result this Sunday. The story will forever live with us, showing how power, lust, and ambition produce terrible consequences. The marketing has come to even collect fans among celebrities, politicians, and the royalty; besides them, many important brands and companies want some of the success, so they partnered to create great ads and commercials, offering products and services about GOT. Look the last campaign of Oreo, because who will resist a cookie with the seal of their favorite family from Westeros?
— OREO Cookie (@Oreo) 2 de abril de 2019
One of the best ways to engage the audience is to explore the social networks with a marketing campaign of teasers and possibles or expected outcomings. HBO is an expert in this, not just only with GOT, but with everything they do in the network. Working different campaigns with this in mind is one of the best secrets behind the marketing of GOT: they used lots of easter eggs to make fans start to create all kinds of theories around the teasers and trailers.
Maybe they will be right, but because of the surprise element, many of them never become true. However, tease and play with the audience that includes celebrities, royals and politicians is an amazing way to sell a product, in this case, the show. The conferences and festivals help to increase the expectations, and they explode this. When a season is being aired, they play with everything that happened in the last episode to tease the audience for the next one.
Finally, we are going to talk about how they engage the viewers, not just with the story but to interact with things outside it. They had created concerts with the score of every season, interactive functions where the visitants can take photos with the Iron Throne and special characters. Even they use virtual reality to elevate the experience to a whole new level, for example, this:
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) 1 de mayo de 2019
And now they are preparing a studio tour, for the fans to know every set used in the shooting and production of the show, that will contain costumes, props and all those special details from the beloved and hatred series. Check it out here:
Send a raven.
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) 3 de abril de 2019
With all this information, we can’t answer if Game of Thrones is the best show of all times, but definitely is one that has made its own place in TV history, and now that is more than a show becoming in a brand itself, we can hope for more and more about Westeros. With the upcoming and final books by George R. R. Martin, and the starting production of a prequel, fans will obtain the universe of GOT for the years to come. Be aware of a raven for more news and updates about it!
Let it be fear.
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) 14 de mayo de 2019
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