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Leading into its third season, Game of Thrones was poised to make the leap from popular television show to global sensation. To fuel this and help broaden the audience, HBO devised an innovative strategy to bring Game of Thrones to the popular social platform, Instagram, in a new and unexpected way.
From the fantasy world of Westeros to the filtered world of Instagram, HBO took a focused approach to the platform which differentiated the profile from all other Game of Thrones content on the web. Enjoyable images featuring the pocket-sized Game of Thrones Funko figurines in unexpected situations broke through the clutter and appealed to the platform’s young demographic. Key scene reenactments, digital platforms promotions, and “GoT IRL” photos gave the profile a unique voice and helped promote the series to the mainstream. Social activations with cast members holding their Funko counterpart at offline events such as red carpet premieres and Comic-con incentivized thousands of “double-taps” from fans who followed along.
Since launching in March 2013, the profile grew to over 132k followers and garnered over 500k likes. The Funkos traveled across the country and posed with beloved cast members such as Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. Content popped the zeitgeist such as the Lord Renly marriage equality photo, which received positive coverage from Huffington Post. The profile also came to life at Comic-con where fans were invited to participate in a “caption-this scene” contest featuring the Funkos. Additionally, fans flocked to stores to create their own “little Westeros” moments and over 200k Game of Thrones Funko Figurines have been purchased domestically and internationally to date.
Game of Thrones’ Instagram strategy exemplified a unique approach to the platform that no other entertainment entity has ever taken before. It provided a fresh and fun way to engage the broader fan base and play upon pop-culture. These enjoyable images surprised and delighted users of the platform and helped grow the audience, cementing Game of Thrones’ position as a cultural phenomenon.