ALL BRANDS MUST SERVE! Aakriti Sinha, Director – Social, Isobar India shares how brands latched on to the Game of Thrones finale fervor, but only a few got it right!
A brand has no name – a brand like GOT has many faces, many names and is unquestionably omnipresent! How can one not be a part of the biggest and the best television show in the world of our times? Game of Thrones and every character including its locations are a brand in themselves. Needless to say that with the show’s finale season which was in waiting for almost 2 years now, the buzz started much in advance. This not only gave a bigger canvas for the brands to play on but also the much obvious FOMO to create any content piece that had a “brand or product integration” somehow.
There is no dearth of GOT and characters’ fan-clubs, accounts, memes (in every cultural context as well!) on social media. Audio, video, games… you name the format. The last season of Game of Thrones was an extended Super-Bowl game for advertisers, where every brand wanted a pie of attention by owning the conversations around brand GOT. Did everyone succeed? No. Especially when most of them came across as a force-fit.
Amidst the sea of content that was floating across, especially with a brand love and following that this show commands – a weak concept or visual play for the heck-of-it did no good for the brands or their products/ service.
The key to leveraging a powerful association or brand is not your product placement on your creative against a GOT background, it is what have you created out of that brand love for the fans. For them to appreciate the smart connect or trigger an emotion.
Brands like Adidas, Oreo and Johnnie Walker went a notch ahead and launched a series special collection for all the fans. And what do nerds appreciate the most – collectibles! A piece of their favourite show memorabilia for their collection, for them to flaunt and discuss endlessly. The brands have remained topical and true to their brand identity without looking gimmicky. Not only that, they all had a call-to-action on digital to further engage with the fans treating them to content resonating with the Game of Thrones world.
Adidas launched a limited edition inspired by the noble families of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond The Wall. Whereas Oreo in a smart play of the GOT House Sigil’s came up with cookies marked with all the well-known important houses of the GOT world. The best part is that brands like Oreo and closer home brands like Swiggy and Durex did not stop at a one-time communication about the show, they continuously engaged and created contextual content throughout the run of the last season.
Whereas these brands played on the generic well-known popular elements and characters of the show like “Winter is coming”, “ValarMorghulis,” “Beyond the wall” or a “Girl has no name”, the best ones have been the ones who churned out real-time content based on epic episodic moments or in many cases BTS! The Starbucks cup and the mineral water bottle got the funny-bones to churn out content about the loopholes and how they became the focus amidst all the hoo-ha. Zomato and Starbucks became a favourite“Leader of Westeros” and true heir to the Iron Throne as soon as the pictures of the spotted products (Coffee Cup and Bottle) started doing the rounds of social media.
Swiggy and Durex followed all the episodes and sustained the buzz through content right before the launch of the final season till the last episode and brought a smile on the fans’ faces. But it was Hotstar Premium – the host of the show back on this part of the land that was the king of Game of Thrones content – speaking literally and socially! Right from creating teasers with flying dragons over Indian landmarks and how winter took over our turf, to capturing ALL conversations around hue & cry that came with spoilers to creating intrigue for every episode (pre and post) Hotstar Premium was a hit amongst all the fans.
It truly celebrated the hype around the finale season and was in-sync with the mood of the internet and fans. GOT SPOILERS was what the net was abuzz with reaching a peak this season across the Globe, fans, and late-grammers, late-viewers, non-viewers and even the IDGAFers (I don’t give a fuck’ers) everyone had one biggest fear – SPOILERS and brand like Hotstar leveraged it very well providing a lot of laughs along the way (offline – online).
An event as big as the final season of such a big show deserved all the hype it got and even more, where fans stayed divided over the evolving characters and plots this season… some brands were true winners! Mostly because they didn’t budge from what the frenzy was all about – celebration of such a loved show! After all, all brands must serve
The article is authored by Aakriti Sinha of Isobar India.