March 6, 2013
Many people may think spring is finally on the way, but in reality “Winter Is Coming.” That’s right, the season 3 premiere of “Game of Thrones” is only a few weeks away.
The first sign of the new season came in a two-page advertisement in the New York Times. The print ad, located in the Arts Section following the Oscars, featured a shadow of a dragon flying over a two pages of fake news stories, as if it was ready to strike. Even though HBO wasn’t able to cast the shadow over normal editorial, the “fake” articles may just be the cleverest part of the ad. Yahoo points out that these articles may not seem like much but for the dedicated GoT fans that read the articles, they provide hints at the upcoming season.
HBO didn’t stop with one print ad, though. Following the success of the New York Times ad, the station started to cast dragon silhouettes in other places, giving a sense that “Game of Thrones” is not only on its way but taking over. At the HBO headquarters in Los Angeles, the same dragon shadow was cast upon the building with the air date and time right below. There were also reports of the image on popular entertainment websites like IMDB and The Hollywood Reporter.
Just when people thought that things were dying down, HBO dropped the extended trailer for season 3 on March 2.
What I love most is that they still pushed the creative boundaries of advertising through traditional and nontraditional methods, even though “Game of Thrones” was the most downloaded TV series in 2012 and is listed as the third best television series of all time (IMDB). Instead of settling for a few billboards in Los Angeles and some glossy ads in magazines, HBO brought fame back to print ads and came up with new digital promotion ideas that aren’t banner ads.
This may not be the first time HBO came up with spectacular creative for one of its shows, but I can only hope it challenges more TV and film industry leaders to do the same.