Chances are you’ve already gotten at least a taste of the big marketing blitz HBO is planning for the much-anticipated final season of the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones that’s set to premiere on April 14. The premium cable channel came up with several different attention-grabbing schemes to get the word out, one of which was the 60-second Bud Light ad shown during last night’s Super Bowl game that doubled as a Game of Thrones promo, with the famed ‘Bud Knight’ meeting a violent end at the hands of The Mountain.
A Wall Street Journal report today reveals that the ad during the big game was envisioned as one of the higher-profile elements of a plan that also includes a global scavenger hunt as well as a blood drive, with the drive tied to a show-related theme of asking people would they “bleed for the throne”? Before inking a deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev SA for the Super Bowl spot, meanwhile, HBO had also weighed other partners including automakers as well as Coca-Cola Co.
HBO never approached the Coke maker, but per the WSJ “had envisioned pitching a script that involved having Coke’s iconic polar bear turn into a ‘white walker,’ a zombielike creature from the show.
“The network tapped David Nutter, director of several Thrones episodes including the Red Wedding scene — a shocking TV moment when several series regulars were brutally killed — to help direct the [Bud Light] ad. The show’s creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss also weighed in on the details, such as making sure one onlooker in the ad responded to the horror in a way that mimicked the reaction of Ellaria Sands, Oberyn’s lover, in the episode.”
Meanwhile, the paper goes on to report, HBO is pulling out all the stops for the show’s final season, with the multi-pronged marketing campaign intended to swell the show’s already-huge fan base. Last year, the WSJ points out via stats from Nielsen, GoT was the most talked about show on Facebook and Twitter, and here are some of the other ways HBO plans to keep that going:
HBO is planning a global scavenger hunt that will reportedly involved fans hunting around the globe for hidden iron thrones. There’s also HBO’s planned blood drive — which, of course, ties in thematically to a show that’s become one of the bloodiest and most violent on television. Details of those are presumably still to come, as is the final season of one of the most talked-about TV franchises of all time.