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Foxtel Game of Thrones - Home of Thrones

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Insight 

There is a clear dynamic evolving for the entertainment industry; a move away from a review culture to a reaction culture as people rely less on Rotten Tomatoes instead determining what they should watch based on how people react to it on social media.  

Mindshare was briefed to deliver talkable ideas that extended beyond the limited release trailers supplied by HBO that would act as an accelerant to existing background buzz. It uncovered the insight that unlike a standard TV show, significant volume of conversation around Game of Thrones exists regardless of when the show is on air. It knew in January that there were over 40 million impressions generated by #GameofThrones discussions in Australia, four months before launch.  

The challenge was to align the mass volume of local conversation around #GameofThrones with Foxtel, not HBO, and find value for the target audience when: 
 It doesn't get to release exclusive content (or know when official assets will land), 
 Everyone on social networks is already a content creator, and    
 Budget and time is limited 

So how could Mindshare create content, own the conversation and drive buzz for the Season 5 launch in the absence of official assets? And, when attention in a fractured media landscape is scarce, how to maintain interest for the six week pre-launch period.  

Strategy 

Conversation is diverse in nature and Game of Thrones fans are extremely passionate; taking any opportunity to participate in a genuine discussion about themes, plot twists and future character possibilities.  

The strategy was clear – rather than attempting to create a new conversation the agency would harness and own the existing conversation.   

Foxtel had launched BoxSets; a way for viewers to watch complete seasons of great drama from the very beginning. This gave an opportunity to speak to existing fans and encourage them to binge on the very best Game of Thrones episodes or capture a new audience, initiating them before the season 5 launch. Instead of standard tune-in messages, the strategy was to use previous seasons’ content to remind people why they love the show and use favourite characters, memorable quotes and insults and a definitive guide of the episodes to re-watch.  

The fact that the Season 5 premiere was the first Game of Thrones global simulcast gave more opportunities to speak to the core messaging and combat piracy. By exploring Game of Thrones in Australia like never before, it could establish Foxtel’s reason for owning the local GoT hype. It also gave a reason to relay functional messaging around the four ways Foxtel subscribers could choose to watch the show – global simulcast, primetime, IQ series link or the Foxtel GO mobile app.   

With this communications structure it would convince the audience that Foxtel gave them what they wanted to watch, when they wanted to watch it and would motivate non-customers to consider the benefits of Foxtel. 

This would be supported by multiple social touchpoints over 6 weeks with a sequential and integrated amplification strategy. Every connection with Game of Thrones would be a targeting opportunity, including keywords, social signals on Twitter, interests and active audiences on Facebook. 

Execution 

To maintain Foxtel's presence the content needed to be purposeful, diverse, lightweight and distinctive from the thousands of memes already online. So the agency created content that was uniquely Australian.  

It identified national radio network Nova as the media partner due to its social footprint, the largest in Australia. Integration with Nova’s social and radio activity (a nationwide hunt for Australia’s biggest GoT fan) was critical for scale and 3rd party credibility. 

An overview of 100 locally created social updates: 

 Real-world content to bring #GameofThrones to life in Australia with tactical discoverable and shareable events (“lost and found” dragon posters, fire-breathing dragon at Sydney Opera House, dragon prints in high traffic areas, burned out car in a mall) all collateral damage from an uncontrollable and lost dragon.  

 Videos of Game of Thrones’ dragon flying over Australian landmarks and wildlife warning signs photoshopped replacing native fauna with dragons.   

 Within weeks of Periscope existing, it was integrated by live-streaming a scavenger hunt with Nova and the official Opera House launch event.  

 Official assets from previous seasons were repurposed to play on the obsession to binge watch BoxSets  

 Thunderclap promoted the global simulcast allowing fans to auto-post a do not disturb update to avoid spoilers, generating further awareness through the social accounts of fans.  

 Twitter’s promoted trend to own #gameofthrones for the premiere 

 Facebook event to create an appointment to view with reminders, event notifications and calendar views.  

Mindshare then re-engaged and retargeted video-viewing users throughout the Facebook campaign to sustain conversation. 

Results 

Foxtel and showcase were clearly established as Australia’s ‘Home of Thrones’.   

 The Season 5 premiere was the most-watched series in Australian pay TV history 

 Increased viewership by 76% from Season 4, smashing the average season on season growth of 46% and dwarfing the US increase of 21%.   

 Nielsen TV ratings data declared #GameOfThrones the biggest ever non-sport TV events on Twitter in Australia to date.  

 Campaign activity reached a cumulative 9.97 million passionate fans with over 20 million impressions and 1.5 million engagements across social platforms and a 7% share of voice on overall measured conversations.   

 Facebook activity maintained an average engagement rate of 16.27% and the best performing content exceeded 40%. 

 Achieved an average CPC $0.11 (900% above average) and video views a mere $0.01.  

On the day of the premiere Foxtel’s share of voice grew to 10%, a YOY increase of 150%, and showcase’s Twitter handle was the number one associated account with the official hashtag. The Twitter trend, #gameofthrones promoted by Foxtel, earned an engagement rate of 3.7% (250% above average).  

With social at the heart Foxtel claimed significant ownership of one of the hottest entertainment properties in the world. 

Have Your Say

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Brand:
Foxtel
Category:
Publishing & Broadcasting
Region:
Australia
date:
March - April 2015
Agency:
Mindshare
Media Channel:
Online,Radio
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