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From the 4th Annual Shorty Awards

HBO: Game of Thrones - TV campaign

Entered in Campaign for Television


In today’s digitally-enabled world, advanced word of mouth can make or break a TV show or film at the hands of a core fan base. The GAME OF THRONES series of books by George RR Martin had developed an extremely rabid fan base that was ready to either embrace and celebrate the adaptation or reject and destroy it. Furthermore, the general public response towards most fantasy projects such as Game of Thrones was that they were simply too geeky or cheesy to hold the interest of the average TV viewer. To respond to these challenges, HBO crafted a social media strategy to reach its objectives: • Turn the existing fan base into allies by instilling faith that HBO would be respectful of the source material. • Attract new fans by breaking the stereotypes of typical fantasy fare, reinforcing HBO’s take on the genre: dark, complex, and strictly for adults. HBO’s campaign rolled out in three phases. 1) Long Lead - win over existing fans: HBO began to win fans over nearly a year in advance of the premiere by launching the teaser simultaneously on and HBO’s YouTube channel alongside the launch of the official website. Fans, wanting to share in the process of the adaptation, were given an open window into the series creation with the official production blog, Making Game of Thrones. The official Twitter profile @gameofthrones was launched in tandem to ensure fans that their voice was being heard. 2) Pre-premiere - engage & proselytize fan base: As the premiere approached, HBO launched official social media presences on Facebook and Youtube. Superfans began evangelizing the series, broadening the potential audience. Facilitating this, HBO launched The Maester’s Path, which featured a series of challenges (online and offline) related to the themes of the narrative. Fans also shared their picture taken on a replica of the Iron Throne itself in select cities. 3) Premiere and Beyond: Promotion redoubled at the premiere and continued throughout the rest of the season. As the show reached more viewers, HBO was there to engage them through social channels. As a final reward to fans, HBO launched The Battle for the Iron Throne Facebook game. Game of Thrones premiered to 2.2MM viewers and the series was immediately renewed for a second season.


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