To build anticipation for Season 4 of HBO's Game of Thrones and encourage catch-up of the first three seasons, the network put Tumblr at the center of a content marketing campaign counting down to the premiere of its most epic season with 30 days of "Beautiful Death" - 30 intricate illustrations representing each episode with the most poignant deaths across three seasons.
The show enlisted Game of Thrones fan and artist Robert M. Ball to create a visually arresting story through one illustration per day for the month leading up to the premiere. It also encouraged fan artwork submissions and partnered with social content creators to spread the Tumblr campaign across social channels including Facebook, Twitter and Vine.
Inspired by the creative talent and passion of HBO Game of Thrones' fans already posting original, high-quality art on Tumblr, "Beautiful Death" has become the go-to guide to the most iconic deaths in the realm, while extending offline with activations at SXSW and the Red Carpet Premiere. Leading to the show's most watched and social season to date, "Beautiful Death" garnered 375 million total impressions, 2.6 million total interactions and 35,000 #BeautifulDeath mentions across social channels, while generating 3.9 million impressions via Tumblr alone. The campaign generated a ton of media attention, earning more than 100 press hits worldwide on outlets like Buzzfeed, Mashable, Jezebel, Fast Company and Nerdist. Its success is even inspiring a new line of HBO merchandise set to debut this year.
Game of Thrones has made the leap from popular television show to global cultural sensation. The show has amassed an exceptionally broad and passionate fan base that proudly boasts their obsessive fandom, particularly across social media channels and on Tumblr. Social buzz for Game of Thrones more than doubled in Season 3, confirming the show's status as HBO's most social original series – with "The Red Wedding" as the most social episode of any HBO show ever to that point.
Given that Season 4 was the "Season of the Fan," HBO set out on social media to reinforce Game of Thrones' position as an epic, must-see TV event and that "those shocked by season three haven't seen anything yet." In Season 4, the saying holds true: "Valar Morghulis," all men must die.
In Game of Thrones, death truly drives the narrative – each death is shrouded in greater meaning: a warning, an opportunity or a lesson. As "All Men Must Die," HBO must engage its fans by challenging them to "Survive the Realm." This was the key that unlocked the concept and became the inspiration for the Tumblr series.
HBO and 360i put Tumblr at the heart of our campaign, serving as the platform for connecting our unique countdown to Game of Thrones fans. To help promote the launch of Season 3 DVDs and support catch-up and excitement for the upcoming premiere, we launched an episode-by-episode 30-day countdown of the most iconic deaths in the realm, leading up to the premiere of Game of Thrones. The Game of Thrones community is an artistic community, especially in Tumblr and fans share their creations (and contributions from other talented fans) in homage to the series including fan art, music and jewelry.
The program kicked off in Austin at SXSW, where Ball's illustrations were featured next to the "In Memoriam" wall at the Game of Thrones exhibition. We used the exhibition to spur the launch of BeautifulDeath.com as a Tumblr-centric showcase where HBO revealed one illustration daily and invited fans to submit their own artistic interpretations. The illustrations were also featured at the NYC Red Carpet Premiere and Barclays Event, as well as extended through Season 4.
We also partnered with influencers such as Mike Wrobel (who did the popular '90s Game of Thrones character art) and Mr. GIF to have them submit their interpretations of a beautiful death, and HBO released a corresponding death Vine daily for each episode to extend the program to other social channels.
"Beautiful Death" garnered 375 million total impressions, 2.6 million total interactions, 2 million in-stream Tumblr views and 35,000 #BeautifulDeath mentions across social channels.
Press and fans were clamouring over the "Beautiful Death" images:
The Game of Thrones' season 4 premiere was the most social episode of the show ever, beating "The Red Wedding" episode. Social platforms engagement increased by 30% and there was an 81% increase in year-over-year Game of Thrones mentions worldwide.
Because of the popularity of the "Beautiful Death" program, HBO will extend the campaign through Season 5, and included a "Beautiful Death" booklet in the U.S. and U.K. versions of the Season 4 Blu-ray. Additionally the program continues to extend on Tumblr and offline, and will be showcased again at SXSW, as well as the IMAX screenings/premiere event.
Fill out the form below and we'll work on connecting you to the entry creator!