How marketers fell short with ‘Game of Thrones’ activations

The hit TV show set staggering viewership records with its finale and many brand managers tried to take advantage of the global phenomenon. Were the attempts successful?

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In the past few months, marketing and the TV juggernaut “Game of Thrones” have crashed together spectacularly with, by some estimations, over 100 brands engaging in themed promotions as Series 8 of the series hit screens.

However, most (if not all) of these promotions have been woefully shortsighted. Many campaigns were just opportunistic attempts to earn a quick buck that completely disregarded brand identity and how it should be properly communicated.

These kinds of marketing efforts are a mistake. Whenever there are immensely popular TV or movie franchises, many brand managers jump on to the franchise bandwagon. There are loads of examples where brands and franchises have worked beautifully well together.

Think about the brands associated with the James Bond movies. What sort of car is Bond driving in this film? Is he wearing a Tom Ford suit or is it from another designer? What’s he drinking? What’s that sports bag he’s carrying?

From TV, there’s the great example of “Sex and the City.” What office is that they’re in? Oh, it’s the Vogue offices. Is that a Louis Vuitton bag she’s carrying? Has she matched that bag with Prada shoes? You can find many examples where brand values and the franchise complement each other exquisitely.

Yet, many brand managers missed the mark with “Game of Thrones.”

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