Game of Marketing to Throne’s Fans (*No Spoilers*)

Now that the mass mania of Game of Thrones is over (Click on the link if you want spoilers), it is time to see how much it has effected our lives.

There is absolutely no doubt that with the copious loads of marketing and advertising budgets($20 million for the recent season) that were thrown in for the mega-series, you maybe in one of these 3 categories:

  1. Watched the series completely
  2. Watched the series partially
  3. Never watch, never intend to watch and is constantly annoyed by the 1st two categories

The show has a huge fan basean average same-day tune-in of 17.3 million viewers, and where there are potential consumers, there are brands.

Brands have jumped into the conversation with extreme enthusiasm. 

For months now, marketers and advertisers at of Oreo, KFC, Pepsi, AT&T, Hotstar etc have been on strict GoT diet.

I hope they get a break, 

and I really feel sad for the people in marketing who fall under the 3rd category.

But you know,

Sometimes jobs are bad… 

Now companies which have hitched their wagon to the GoT brand have done something called as “Topical Marketing” or “Newsjacking”

You know when your consumer base is already engrossed in something that is happening right now 


you feel it is your moral responsibility to crash the party? 

Annoying as it might seem but topical marketing is something which drives results.

There is partial data of people who watch Game of Thrones (Insights are coming) and they can be impulse buyers (Yippee! for companies), and also favour the companies which have associated with GoT because they might feel that these brands “get them”, whatever that means.

Obviously, this data is not exhaustive and may not reflect purchasing habits accurately 

but it’s something 

a brand is not willing to ignore. 

Topical Marketing

Indulging in topical marketing, first of all, needs budget. 

It also needs you to know through some user research that the topic you are hijacking overlaps with your target audience interests. So, you can imagine that not all companies must be taking advantage of all the current topics, because they might be irrelevant to their customer base and they might end up spending their budget frivolously.

This sort of marketing increases your brand visibility, gives your brand a personality (something which all brands crave for), maybe show off your sense of humour or cleverness or boldness, all of which can be positive or negative depending on how your ad is perceived by the intended audience. You also need a team which keeps an eye out and responds quickly to such opportunities and is available to successfully complete the campaigns which sometimes might be short-lived, unplanned and hectic.

Because it doesn’t take more than a few hours for people to lose interest and move on to the next shiny object.

One of the most influential marketing phenomena in recent times is the Game of Thrones inspired marketing and advertisements.

Not to forget HBO’s marketing of the show itself, which saw a worldwide scavenger hunt for the throne, a #ForTheThrone campaign to donate blood and hijacking Budlight’s Super Bowl spot.

But we are not going to talk about that… 

Initially I thought I could write about some of the ad campaigns, but the more I researched it, the more I saw that there are literally 100s of ad campaigns catering to GoT (You can find them HereHere and Here)

So now, this article is about how good or bad some of these are 

whether you, as a brand, must indulge in topical marketing or not.

Most of these ads don’t make much sense and are simply using the points of popularity to suck you into an absurd place with loads of commercial products to sell.

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Look at this. 

Who would want to have a game of straws? 

If anything people are understanding that straws are something we shouldn’t be using, and are happy to not use them. Why would a popular brand, which is guilty of increasing the consumption of something clearly unhealthy for our future want to flaunt the very thing they are guilty of?

Not cool…

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And then there’s this. 

FastTrack’s GoT inspired watches. 

For the die hard fans, it makes no sense. 

You can’t simply put the name GoT on random products and expect fans to buy them. 

But these kind of products cater to the show-offers and they routinely fall under the category of people who have watched the show partially and want to be considered cool by adorning such products.

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And then there’s the Adidas GoT inspired sneakersOreos’ limited edition pack of Game of Thrones-themed OreosUrban Decay’s GoT inspired MakeupWhite Walker by Johnnie Walker and the tons of experiential marketing done around this series.

However tempting it might be for you to jump into something which is catching waves, 

do a quick check on whether you should:

  • Does it resonate with your target audience?
  • Do you have the budget for it?
  • What is the goal you expect to hit with the campaign?
  • Do you have the team equipped to carry it out?
  • Is the management on board?

Only when you the answers nudging you in the direct of taking up topical marketing should you get into this game where big brands with unlimited pockets come out to play. 

Make sure you are in it completely and for all the right reasons.

Like and comment if you saw a Game of Thrones inspired “something” recently, 

I certainly have 🙂

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