Overview

As the Creative Director on the HBO account, my team and I were tasked with amplifying the excitement for HBO Latin America’s series, “Game of Thrones,” across a diverse and geographically vast audience. We aimed to engage HBO’s affiliates and clients in the Caribbean, South, and Central America, elevating the anticipation for the new season. This case study outlines our strategic approach and creative process in executing a marketing kit and microsite that served as an effective promotional tool and paid homage to the rich narrative and intricate world of “Game of Thrones.”

Challenge

The primary challenge was to create a buzz around “Game of Thrones” among HBO’s affiliate partners and clients early in its run, a critical time for establishing a viewer base in Latin America. This audience spanned a vast region with varied cultures and languages, including English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The campaign needed to resonate across these diverse demographics while staying true to the essence of the series. Additionally, we aimed to build a deep, interactive engagement, going beyond traditional marketing techniques to immerse the audience in the world of Westeros.

The Latin American market presented a unique set of challenges. The varied economic conditions, media consumption habits, and cultural differences required a tailored approach that would be both inclusive and appealing to a wide range of viewers. Furthermore, we had to consider the logistical challenges of distributing physical promotional materials across such a vast region.

Industry

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Role

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Scope

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Tools

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Solution

Research and Development

We embarked on an extensive research phase to tailor a campaign authentic to the “Game of Thrones” brand and appealing to the Latin American market. This involved several critical steps:

  • Analyzing Viewer Demographics and Preferences: We conducted surveys and focus groups across the targeted regions to understand the preferences and viewing habits of our audience. This data was crucial in shaping our campaign strategy.
  • Delving Deep into the Lore: We delved deep into the “Game of Thrones” lore, characters, and houses to ensure authenticity in every campaign detail. This involved working closely with HBO’s content team to gather insights and ensure our promotional materials were true to the series.
  • Cultural Nuances: We studied cultural nuances to tailor the campaign materials in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, ensuring the message resonated well with each audience segment. This included understanding regional holidays, local customs, and popular media trends.

Creative Execution

Our creative solution encompassed a two-pronged teaser program, leveraging both physical and digital channels to maximize engagement:

  1. Microsite Design and Development: A cornerstone of our strategy was the design and development of a microsite. This platform served as a digital gateway into the world of “Game of Thrones,” offering teasers, trailers, and a wealth of content about the series. A critical feature was an interactive questionnaire that determined which of the nine Game of Thrones houses a participant belonged to, enhancing user engagement through personalization. The microsite also included exclusive behind-the-scenes content, character profiles, and sneak peeks of upcoming episodes.
  2. Premium Gift Kit: Following the digital engagement, we developed a premium gift box themed around the core nine families of “Game of Thrones.” This box included custom items like a bullhorn mug engraved with the family crest, Westeros Ale specially brewed for this campaign, and a wooden USB drive with digital marketing materials. This tangible touchpoint aimed to solidify the immersive experience we initiated online. Each item in the kit was carefully designed to reflect the aesthetic and narrative of the series, providing a physical connection to the world of Westeros.
  3. Multilingual Communications: Given the linguistic diversity of our target audience, we developed all campaign materials and communications in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. This multilingual approach was crucial in ensuring inclusivity and maximizing engagement across all regions. We also collaborated with local influencers and media partners to amplify our message and reach a broader audience.

Implementation

The implementation phase was a meticulous process that required coordination across multiple teams and regions:

  1. Content Creation: We produced high-quality video content, social media posts, and blog articles to drive traffic to the microsite. Each piece of content was crafted to reflect the epic nature of the series and build anticipation for the new season.
  2. Distribution Strategy: We developed a comprehensive distribution strategy for the premium gift kits, ensuring timely delivery to key affiliates and clients. This involved partnering with local logistics companies and utilizing HBO’s existing distribution networks.

Interactive Engagement: We hosted a series of online events and contests to maintain engagement levels throughout the campaign. These included trivia quizzes, fan art competitions, and live Q&A sessions with cast members.

Result

The campaign exceeded expectations, achieving an over 85% engagement rate from affiliates across Latin America. The innovative blend of digital and physical touchpoints resonated deeply with the audience, coupled with the campaign’s authenticity and attention to detail. HBO Latin America received a Gold Mark Award from the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), recognizing the excellence and achievement of the “Game of Thrones” affiliate marketing kit, further cementing our success with the project.

In addition to the high engagement rate, we saw significant increases in social media followers, website traffic, and viewer ratings for the series. The microsite recorded thousands of unique visitors, and the interactive questionnaire became a viral hit, with fans sharing their house affiliations on social media.

Conclusion

The “Game of Thrones” marketing campaign is a testament to the power of creative storytelling and immersive marketing. By leveraging in-depth research, cultural insights, and a deep understanding of the brand, we were able to craft an award-winning campaign that not only met but exceeded our client’s objectives. This case study exemplifies how creativity, combined with strategic planning and execution, can achieve remarkable results in engaging and expanding an audience.

Our success with this campaign has set a new benchmark for future projects. It demonstrated the importance of a holistic approach that integrates digital innovation with traditional marketing techniques. The lessons learned from this campaign undoubtedly informed our strategies moving forward, as we continued to push the boundaries of what is possible in marketing and audience engagement.