One of the benefits of social media is that, when used well, it can get punters to do something, unlike the vast majority of typically one-way commercial messages. And, as Simon Veksner wrote recently, “it’s well known that getting people to do something makes them more likely to buy”. To launch season four of Game of Thrones, Sky and DDB asked fans to tweet #bringdowntheking and help topple a seven-metre statue of the despised King Joffrey that was constructed in Aotea Square by Finch. And, judging by the big numbers, it would have to rank as one of the country’s most engaging social campaigns in recent memory.
Sky and DDB are generally renowned for their TV work. So a social and digital campaign is a bit of a departure. But the risk seemed to pay off, because, according to DDB, the campaign reached over 40 million people, reaching 368,125 people per hour at its peak. People from over 126 countries engaged with the campaign, so it was good for the show as a whole, although New Zealand was approximately 13 x more engaged than any other country (the hashtag was trending almost every day in New Zealand).
David Nutter (who directed the infamous Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones) also got behind it and his very first tweet was in support of the campaign, using the hashtag #bringdowntheking. And you know a campaign has been successful when another advertiser gets meta and attempts to ride on its coattails.
Nielsen doesn’t release Sky’s ratings (and Sky doesn’t release the number of SoHo subscribers). So it’s not clear if the hype led to more views in this country. But, according to the Washington Post, about 6.6 million people tuned in for the fourth season premiere on HBO in the US and, combined with replays, that went up to 8.2 million, which is “an enormous number for a pay cable channel”.
The premiere is HBO’s most-watched program since “The Sopranos” signed off in 2007 with nearly 12 million viewers. Before that, the “Sex and the City” finale in 2004 drew 10.6 million people. (Though HBO doesn’t release numbers, it reportedly has around 28 million subscribers, while Showtime has about 24 million.)