Winter finally arrives this weekend in the much-anticipated seventh season premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Even if you’re not a Thrones fan (shame), chances are you’ve heard of the world’s most popular show. Its complex character personas and layered plots rife with shock value have earned it a hungry cult following. Even during the show’s off-season, the internet can’t stop talking about it.
HBO’s social media strategy has certainly helped online buzz surrounding Thrones spread like wildfire. Read on for a few examples of HBO’s brilliant social stunts.
- A Facebook Live teaser quite literally consisting of fire and ice. Instead of the show’s usual spring debut, HBO announced in January that the season premiere would be delayed to accommodate the arrival of winter weather while shooting. [Cue impatient fans’ emotional turmoil.] To announce the series’ premiere date, HBO conducted a Facebook Live broadcast, using fire to melt a block of ice containing the date, asking users to comment “FIRE” or “DRACARYS” to reveal it. Though there were some technical difficulties with execution of the stunt, more than 162,000 people stuck around for reveal. And, despite being trolled a bit by the internet, fans remained steadfast, and seemingly more excited with news of the premiere date than annoyed they had watched ice melt for an hour of their day. All in all, I think this can still be chalked up to a win where engagement rates are concerned.
- A Snapchat lens reminding us that “winter is here.” HBO teamed up with Snapchat to launch a lens this week that inserts users into the realm, where they can use the selfie-filter to take on the resemblance of a brooding White Walker, or “kill” a White Walker with a dragon glass dagger. All of this indicating that winter has arrived, and no one is safe.
- A real-world White Walker presence. On Wednesday, creatures of the realm were spotted in the U.K. White Walkers descended upon London – a publicity stunt in celebration of the season seven launch. Their costumes took over eight weeks to create, and actors spent four hours in makeup before making their public appearance. Witnesses of the sightings took to Twitter with the news.
What will HBO scheme next? A girl has no patience.