How Game of Thrones Influenced the World of Advertising

Game of Thrones is a trending subject for the past 6-7 years. True fans have been waiting for over a year for season 7 of Game of Thrones to start. During the last 6 years, the show has gained immense popularity and fame. The multitude of characters, situation twists, costumes and scenery makes for love at first sight for the majority of people watching the show. The world of advertising did not fall far behind, drawing inspiration from the much-acclaimed series for various commercials and ads.
When you draw marketing strategies related to fantasy series it is always best to use the comical factor, which most advertisements and commercials have used even when they tried to portray ethical matters. However, marketers need to be very cautious because often times you do not know how are the fans going to receive the commercials or if they are going to make the connections you as a marketer assume they will make. From food advertisements to raising awareness campaigns, to interviews in magazines and to hilarious vlogs, Game of Thrones references have been overly present. However, not all have been successfully received by the public.
Our team has cautiously selected 4 examples from completely different fields to provide you with the inspiration you need when designing your Game of Thrones themed campaign.

Hodor is still alive in this ad for KFC
The new KFC UK Game of Thrones inspired ad came out in UK this summer. It “recaptures” the last scene of Hodor, and references the scene from the series which clarified the origins of the name “Hodor”. In the ad, he says “chicken with fries”, which is the most ordered meal in the restaurant’s menu. Kristian Nairn’s performance and the group of people storming in the restaurant captured the comical aspect that was intended for the commercial. According to the agency behind the spot, it is KFC U.K.’s most successful social post of all time.

The controversial SodaStream commercial for sparkling water
The ad challenges “the epidemic use of plastic” on Earth and centers especially on single-serve bottles that are polluting the planet. Game of Thrones’ characters Septa Unella (Hannda Waddingham) and Ser Gregor Clegane, aka “The Mountain” (Thor Bjornsson) recreated the scene from season 5 in which Cersei Lannister is forced to embark on the walk of shame. This time, Unella torments a normal guy that buys bottled sparkling water from a grocery store. The commercial sparked a debate and SodaStream are now in a legal battle over the ad with the International Bottled Water Association. However, the concept combines humour with the raising awareness very well and should be considered an example for gaining attention to profound subjects using commercial culture.

Amy Schumer’s Promo – Schwinter is coming
Last spring, Amy Schumer did a Game of Thrones inspired promo for the fourth season of her Comedy Central hit show “Inside Amy Schumer”. The promo could not have been anything else than comedy, filled with jokes related to season 5 of the show. In the promo, she is sitting on a horse, saying “No, fame hasn’t changed me, this is just the Uber that picked me up.” She makes a comical reference to one of the plot twists of season 5, the death of Jon Snow, saying “Jon Snow is definitely alive, because he said no to doing our show”. We will leave it to Amy Schumer to turn such a dramatic moment to a comical scene.

Ireland advertising campaign
Tourism Ireland launched in 2016 a Game of Thrones advertising campaign for millions of fans world-wide. In partnership with HBO, the campaign celebrates Northern Ireland as Game of Thrones territory for the last 6 years. Part of the campaign entails a series of 10 intricately carved doors, depicting moments inspired by the show, with each door marking a certain episode, demonstrating the connection between Ireland and Game of Thrones. After some time, the doors were hanged in pubs and other venues that were close to filming locations throughout the season, giving tourists a tour of the filming trail to follow.

Whichever approach you choose, you must ensure you always get your facts straight. Fans are fickle creatures and will easily get upset and not support your product or service if they feel it insults the storyline or the reality of the show.