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Case Studies Steve Coulson / Game of Thrones
Steve Coulson, Creative Director of Campfire, presents the interactive narrative campaign launched for the premiere of Game Of Thrones on HBO that included unique experiences to engage each of the five senses, along with an online fan campaign where communities worked together to unlock exclusive video rewards.Game Of Thrones Campaign Overview
The Maester's Path On-Air Promo
Game of Thrones Asks Fans to Play Mouth-Watering Metagame
Game of Thrones Meetup Storify
HBO needed to raise awareness about the premiere of Game of Thrones in a way that appealed to both new audiences and hardcore fans of the book series. Campfire's team, led by Creative Director Steve Coulson rolled out a five-week campaign that engaged each of the five senses. At the same, an online fan engagement campaign was launched in which online communities worked together to unlock exclusive video rewards. Each video was connected to the five senses and chosen to increase overall buzz and anticipation for the show.
The first sense in the campaign was scent - carefully curated packages including an antiqued box filled with custom-made scents from the regions of Westeros and illustrated manuscripts were sent to journalists, bloggers and influencers. The resulting coverage and “unboxing videos” kicked off an intriguing campaign for a wide audience.
The second sense in the campaign was sound - with the launch of "The Inn at the Crossroads". This "interactive sound environment" lived on the The Maester's Path site, and allowed users to walk around the inn and eavesdrop on different conversations. The environment was recorded using an advanced binaural recording setup that created a simulated 3D effect when experienced with headphones.
The third sense in the campaign was sight. This was achieved by bringing to life a 700 ft ice wall (that was later featured prominently on the show) through a game-like experience on The Maester's Path Site. Using only the Flash plugin, a section of the Wall became explorable and included social interaction and challenging gameplay.
The fourth sense in the campaign was touch - or "feel". To achieve this, an app for both iPhone and iPad was built to create a "climate-driven storytelling experience" for fans. Called “Ice & Fire” – this app illustrated the extremes of heat and cold in Westeros. It also provided a glimpse into the different regions of the kingdom based on the forecast in the user’s personal geographic location.
The fifth and final sense of the campaign was taste. Tom Colicchio of Top Chef created a series of regional dishes from the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, distributed via food trucks in New York & LA. Each day, a recipe video featuring Colicchio was released, and clues to the truck’s locations were posted on Facebook and Twitter. This resulted in long lines of fans waiting in anticipation and garnered widespread, mainstream press interest.
At the same time the sensory campaign was rolling out, a fan engagement campaign launched on The Maester's Path site. Puzzles rolled out weekly in sync with each sensory experience, and rewards included special GetGlue stickers, exclusive unseen clips from the show, and links in a “Maester’s Chain.” This social mechanism was built into the gameplay and required players to recruit “apprentices” to help explore and solve the puzzles. This provided a source of fan evangelism that saw high levels of traffic and online buzz as each puzzle was released.
Campfire's campaign for HBO reassured existing fans, while setting the stage for a premiere that ultimately garnered over 8m viewers, propelling Game of Thrones to become a pop culture phenomenon.