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Case Code: MKTG363
Case Length: 17 Pages 
Period: 2011-2016   
Pub Date: 2017
Teaching Note: Available
Organization : Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO)
Industry : Media and Entertainment
Countries : US 
Themes: Integrated Marketing / Marketing Communications / Digital Marketing 
Case Studies  
Business Strategy
Human Resource Management
IT and Systems
Leadership & Entrepreneurship

'Game of Thrones' TV Series: HBO’s Integrated Marketing Strategy

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GoT was the television adaptation of Martin’s best-selling epic fantasy novels ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. In January 2006, producer /writer David Benioff (Benioff) received a set of the novels from his literary agent and found them engrossing. He shared his enthusiasm with his friend DB Weiss (Weiss) and suggested that they adapt Martin’s novels into a television series. In March 2006, Benioff and Weiss had a five-hour meeting with Martin at a restaurant in Santa Monica during which they laid out their vision for his series, and their intention to adapt one novel per season. Martin was not convinced until the duo was able to answer a question related to a character in the book – “Who is Jon Snow’s mother?” Fortunately, since both of them had been following the novels for a long time, they got the answer right. Martin then agreed to let them adapt the books....

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Packed with an interesting story, brilliant execution, and well-rounded characters, the makers of GoT had let the quality of the product do the talking for them, opined industry experts. In addition, HBO had developed an integrated marketing strategy to promote the show, keep fans connected, and engage them – particularly during the off seasons. HBO had extensively used print, social media, and outdoor promotions to market the drama series...


Digital marketing was an integral part of HBO’s campaign for GoT. The show tapped the social media from Season 3 onward with avid followers on social networking sites such as Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , YouTube , and Tumblr . HBO used the audience enthusiasm for the show’s characters and plots to fuel its marketing. Replying to fans and sharing their reactions on social networking platforms and featuring fan-generated ..


On February 27, 2013, as part of the run up to the third season, HBO ran an ad in The New York Times, featuring a flying dragon’s shadow over two pages of featured fake articles. The ad made it look like a dragon was flying overhead, casting its shadow on the pages....


HBO launched several social media campaigns to boost fan engagement and generate discussion during and between seasons of GoT. HBO consistently raised the ante on its advertising campaign for GoT, topping itself each season with simple but brilliant transmedia executions that engaged fans in unique ways. ...


Though the show was promoted mostly online, HBO also carried out some outdoor promotions in order to bring the fictional realm of Westeros to the real world. In March 2011, to promote the first season of the show, HBO rolled out GoT themed food trucks..


To promote the Season 2 premiere, HBO launched a new brand promotion called “Pledge Your Allegiance” that put fan loyalty to the test. “Pledge Your Allegiance” was a Facebook app that allowed fans to pledge their loyalty to their favorite Westeros house by previewing videos for each of the seven noble families of Westeros. ..


Some analysts attributed the success of the show partly to HBO’s integrated marketing campaign and fan engagement across various social media platforms. According to them, GoT had become part of the cultural zeitgeist as fans discussed the show endlessly on various social media platforms....


Experts opined that HBO’s integrated marketing campaign made the GoT experience far more than just a 60-minute television show every week, showing marketers the importance of creating quality content in a competitive market.. ..


Exhibit I:Game of Thrones Integrated Marketing Campaign
Exhibit II: Top Ten Television Series in the US .
Exhibit III: GoT-Outdoor Promotions
Exhibit IV: Game of Thrones Viewership.
Exhibit V: List of Awards Won by Game of Thrones
Exhibit VI: Game of Thrones Multichannel Engagement compared to Other Shows (Season 4)
Exhibit VII: Game of Thrones Social Media Audience Vis-à-Vis Other Series’ (Season 5)
Exhibit VIII: HBO Subscribers Worldwide (2010-2016)