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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 word of mouth, the Game of Thrones Facebook Page established an engagement strategy that activated both die-hard and mainstream fans, and harnessed the power of the show’s strong global following.
HBO and Definition 6 created the Join the Realm sigil creator, a social application designed to drive awareness for the premiere using highly personalized, spreadable media. The global application allows users to create their own coat of arms like those featured in the show. The site supports 24 languages and is optimized for smartphones, tablets and the latest browsers. Customization options are extensive; from direwolves to pizza, there are icons and design flourishes representative of everyone. Sigils can be easily shared and exported as Facebook cover images, Twitter headers and Instagram photos.
Facebook Tabs translated in local languages were distributed to HBO international partners for their regional Facebook pages to teach their fans how to create a sigil within the app. International Game of Thrones Facebook pages raised their banners high and reskinned their pages with cover images and profile photos with house words translated in local languages. The application proved to be a powerful marketing tool across international HBO properties, running promotions such as sigil design contests from family crests designed within the app. Join the Realm quickly became a phenomenon, receiving over 1.2MM visits and flooding social channels with over 750k sigils.
The promotion culminated at San Diego Comic-con, where attendees were invited to Join The Realm with a variety of activities including creating personalized “House” t-shirts, a shareable photo op on the iron throne, and social giveaways of premium items. Pictures from the event were then featured on the Facebook page in real-time, resulting in several galleries of Game of Thrones talent and fans participating in “Join the Realm” activities throughout the weekend.
As the season progressed, fans connected to the Facebook page to get updates, recaps, and previews, and were presented with quote memes featuring beloved characters and powerful quotes that they could share with friends. Images capturing climactic episodic moments were amongst the page’s most viral content and photos were viewed over 25MM times throughout the season. Fans vented on the page’s timeline after pivotal episodes such as “The Red Wedding.” The Game of Thrones Facebook page provided timely updates to “console fans” after the traumatic event by posting “The North Remembers” content and soliciting questions for cast member Michelle Fairley, who’s character faced her bloody demise in the episode. The Game of Thrones Facebook Page grew to over 8MM likes and became one of the most powerful television show pages on the platform. Real-time updates from the page spiked word of mouth awareness, helping the premiere to set a record for highest viewership ever seen by the series and generating more social volume than any premium cable show. The global Join the Realm Facebook app entered the zeitgeist by inspiring creativity and providing access to the world of the show. Year-round engagement and captivating activations helped form a personal bond with fans across the globe and gave them new ways to connect with the world of the show, cementing Game of Thrones’ position as a cultural phenomenon.