Marketing HBO’s Game of Thrones; or, You’re Doing It Right

After much anticipation, the HBO television series Game of Thrones has arrived with a bang. There is undoubtedly much to be said about this adaptation, but I will leave that to wiser heads. Instead, I would like to point out the remarkable job done by the program’s marketing department. Game of Thrones has been highly anticipated, and not only because of its connection to A Song of Ice and Fire.

HBO has done everything possible to have the name and imagery of the film directly in the public eye. In addition to the usual advertisement and posters, the marketing team has demonstrated a very skillful use of Facebook promotion, and even the use of free food to spread name recognition for the program among people who may not be familiar with the book series.

Perhaps most ingenious of all, this past weekend HBO set up replicas of the Iron Throne (as seen in some rather iconic promotional imagery) in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Members of the public were invited to come and have their pictures taken seated on the throne, which they could then choose to instantly post to Facebook and/or Twitter, giving HBO a last minute promo blitz. I checked out the Philadelphia display myself, and you can see the result above. The entire collection of photos appears on the show’s Facebook fan page gallery.

In addition to being an impressive display of marketing, there is a lesson here to be learned. Obviously, HBO has put a lot of money into promoting Game of Thrones, and that’s not something most of us could dream of doing for the projects we work with. But the end goal of HBO’s marketing team, the skillful use of public media and unconventional advertisement methods to keep the series in the public eye, is a template that could be applied elsewhere both easily and cheaply. If more books were promoted using this same kind of technique, even with much smaller budgets, we would see far fewer of them falling by the wayside.

G. D. Falksen is awed both by Game of Thrones itself and by the impressive work of the marketing team. He’s also very glad that he was in Philadelphia this weekend.


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