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Brands vie for the throne in the game of social media marketing

Shrujitha Ramanujam

The Game of Thrones has the world hooked to their screens. The fan following that this TV show has garnered over the years is unlike any other and perhaps can only be compared to the likes of Star Wars and Marvel. The opening episode of the final season had a record 17.4 million people tuning in.

Over the past 7 months, we noticed brands rushing to capitalize on the GOT phenomena — be it official brand partnerships or even witty social posts referencing the popular show. Our inner GOT fan couldn’t resist digging a little deeper to see which brands nailed it.

The tools we used for our Analysis:

We analyzed Game of Thrones posts by brands on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram over the last 7 months. We used Unmetric Discover and Unmetric Analyze for this analysis.

SEE THE LATEST GAME OF THRONES POSTS BY BRANDS

Brands published more on Twitter yet Game of Thrones content on Instagram had more interactions

Brands published 9x more Game of Thrones related content on Twitter when compared to Facebook and Instagram. Despite this, the branded Game of Thrones content on Instagram engaged better with fans.

The posts on Instagram received 23x and 5x more interactions than those on Facebook and Twitter.

GoT fever hit right before the premiere in April

The amount of Game of Thrones content on social by brands surprisingly rose in November and then dipped a little until March when it took off yet again.

Curious to find out why the amount of GoT related content increased in November, we dug a little deeper. We discovered that brands published were capitalizing on the phrase “Winter is coming” to resonate with their fans.

Brands in the United States and India published the most GoT content

Top 10 brand partnerships with Game of Thrones

Here is a look at the top 10 Game of Thrones posts by brands. Brands went all out to appease Game of Thrones fans – from releasing Game of Thrones memorabilia to Game of Thrones editions of their products. Some brands kept it simple with strong puns that referenced GoT.

1. Oreo

Oreo gave the famous Game of Thrones theme song played at the beginning of every episode their own spin. The brand used 2750 oreo cookies to recreate the Game of Thrones landscape with great attention to detail.

This Game of Thrones post was the most engaging one on Twitter. It received 43,000 interactions.

They used this post to tease their fans with the release of their limited edition Game of Thrones Oreo cookies.

2. Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew released an all-white “faceless” (color changing) can in place of its usual yellow and green can. The can stays white at room temperature, but when it’s cold it reveals Arya Stark’s famed “kill list” from the show. The can pays tribute to the time Arya Stark tried to become a “faceless man” by calling this edition of Mountain Dew, “A Can Has No Name”.

To increase interactions on their social handles they laid rules to determine how fans could get their hands on one of these limited edition cans. Fans could either participate in their social media contest or if you happened to live in LA or New York City you could also hunt for it around your city and win a chance to use their special Game of Thrones vending machine.

The post received 7,000 interactions and over 3 million views.

The brand also had popular US musicians and sports stars sing the Game of Thrones title song. Members of the popular hip-hip group Migos were also a part of the rendition.

3. MGM Resorts – Game of Thrones at the fountains Bellagio

The famous American hospitality brand brought a Game of Thrones spin to their water show at their resort. The water show depicted famous GOT characters like the “Night King” and also displayed dragons breathing fire. They even had the Game of Thrones title song playing in the background. Their video of this marketing tie-in received 19k interactions.

4. Adidas

This post received 55,000 interactions and over 200,000 views on Instagram. Adidas announced the release of their Game of Thrones edition of shoes on social media. The shoes are inspired by the colors and details of locations like the Seven Kingdoms and “beyond the wall”.

5. Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker released their “White Walker” edition of their whiskey to pay tribute to the infamous white walkers, AKA the undead on the show. This post received 20k interactions.

This was one of the first marketing tie-ins by brands for the final season of the show.

5. Bud Light

The Bud Light Game of Thrones commercial during the Super Bowl starts much like any other Bud Light commercial with the Bud Knight engaged in a jousting match. The scene is set similar to the jousting matches on the Game of Thrones.

All seems well until the Bud Knight is kicked off his horse. Then we find The Mountain AKA Ser Gregor Clegane looming over him while Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon burns down the city.

6. Urban Decay

This post received over 177,000 interactions on Instagram. The popular cosmetics brand announced their new Game of Thrones edition of their cosmetic products.

7. Funko

Funko is popular for its figurines and bobbleheads. They took to social media to announce the release of Funko pop for each of the Game of Thrones characters – ranging from Arya Stark to the Children of the Forest. This post received 16,000 interactions on Twitter.

8. American Red Cross

American Red Cross took an unconventional route to persuade more people to donate blood. They partnered with HBO’s Game of Thrones to enter participants in a contest where they could win Game of Thrones merchandise. They even got witty with the hashtag #bleedforthethrone.

9. Diageo

Alcoholic beverage company, Diageo, announced that the Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection would now be available across Europe.

Conclusion

Marketing tie-ins and brand partnerships referencing recent events, pop culture or anything that has become a phenomena piques curiosity. One such popular partnership as witnessed by social media users has been with HBO’s Game of Thrones. This nifty partnership has helped brands catch the attention of both their own fans as well as of the hardcore fans of the show.

It has helped brands reach out to customers from across the spectrum and increase brand visibility.

These marketing tie-ins are something social media managers can look into. But before you dive into it head first, ensure you’re well educated on the subject you’re referencing. (Know your Khaleesei and your Jon Snow.) Also keep in mind your brand image and stay true to it.

After all it is the Game of Social Media Marketing. You either win or you don’t.

To help you win in the Game of Social Media Marketing head we have compiled posts by brands over the past 7 years at Unmetric Discover.

SEE THE LATEST GAME OF THRONES POSTS BY BRANDS

For more social media and marketing campaign tips:

For more social media content and campaign ideas on how to leverage major holidays and events such as even the Game of Thrones season premiere, check out Unmetric Discover—the world’s largest branded content catalog that helps you explore over 1 billion pieces of branded content posted by more than 100,000 major brands in the last 5 years.