Just when you thought spring is here, everyone says ‘winter is coming’.
As you may know, #gameofthronesseason4 started with much fanfare on April 6. With 6.6 million HBO viewers, and many millions of devoted social media-active #GoT fans, this massive premiere event offered brands the opportunity to exploit the cultural zeitgeist, sorry, ‘join the conversation’ through it’s associated hashtags.
To hijack any trending event, brands should employ the same social media strategy for be it the Superbowl or the Oscars: if you’re going to post something, come up with something fun, engaging and (at least vaguely) relevant and preferably, create some content. Otherwise, irrelevant and desperate attempts at using a trending hashtag could be damaging to the brand reputation and ultimately lead to unfollows.
For Game of Thrones, there were plenty of hashtag hijack #Fails and #Wins to be seen all over Twitter. Here‘s our list of the best brands that tried to (successfully and unsuccessfully) hijack a Game of Thrones hashtag. Keep these in mind next time you decide on hijacking a hashtag.
Few brands have a legitimate claim to use a GoT hashtag. Well played by Tourism Ireland, if blood and guts doesn’t attract them, what will? They’re onto something though, just look at what The Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand’s tourism.
— Tourism Ireland (@GoToIrelandCA) April 7, 2014
Respected sources of cultural commentary are allowed to join in, I suppose.
Game of Thrones recap: Slicing and dicing through the first episode of season four http://t.co/8GdE48LYuT
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 7, 2014
Brands in the relevant field have an argument for joining in, especially as their customers are fantasy fans.
— Forbidden Planet (@ForbiddenPlanet) April 7, 2014
If your store sells the GoT books, it would be a mistake to pass up the opportunity for promotion.
— WaterstonesNewcastle (@WaterstonesNewc) April 7, 2014
(answer: err, living in the real world)
Several brands put in creative effort, creating special products, making amusing little stunts to tie-in. This works:
— Campari America (@CampariAmerica) April 7, 2014
As does this:
— Tim Hortons (@TimHortons) April 7, 2014
This is how to do it:
— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) April 7, 2014
Although this is pretty poor:
— Bud Light Lime Ritas (@TheRitas) April 6, 2014
At least make the effort to hijack the hashtag. Some can actually be amusing (if blindingly unoriginal)
Winter is coming. Also, so is your pizza in 30-45 minutes. #GOT
— Eat24 (@Eat24) April 7, 2014
— SouthernHighlandNews (@Sthn_Hland_News) April 3, 2014
Simply posting a GoT pic doesn’t cut it, although it is a great picture Daenerys Targaryen looks amazing.
— FashionweekNYC (@FashionweekNYC) April 6, 2014
At the very least link your brand with the event, even if it is just the slightest bit tenuous. Do these have a link? Maybe (just)
— Wella Professionals (@WellaPro) April 7, 2014
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) April 7, 2014
However, it can look a bit desperate when brands with little or no perceivable connection at all turn up at the party. Like, well done.
Did Game of Thrones change anyone else's opinion of chicken? #GoT
— Virgin Mobile Canada (@virginmobilecan) April 7, 2014
But, we think SKY needs to remember that working in a call centre does not equal ‘the team who brought GoT to you’ AT ALL.
— Work for Sky (@workforsky) April 7, 2014
What does our product have to with a dungeons and dragonseque fantasy full of sex and slaying? Does it matter? Although this tweet received a few digs, actually they got a few lols from the team here.
— Clorox (@Clorox) April 6, 2014
There has of course been an avalanche of #gameofthrones Gifs, memes and commentary from the social media community. These aren’t tweets from brands, but we just couldn’t resist, here are the funniest of the bunch:
Twitter is similar to Game of Thrones in that they both have 140 characters
— Matthew Cruz (@matthew_cruz) April 7, 2014
Considered pranking my husband by shutting off the power right as 'Game of Thrones' came on, but I like being married.
— side-eye spice (@goldengateblond) April 7, 2014
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) April 7, 2014
While if you’re a celeb, you don’t need to be funny, you just say, ‘OMG’. Like, well done. Life is much the richer for that input.
OMG Game of Thrones was so good! Soooo happy it's back!!!
— Eva Longoria (@EvaLongoria) April 7, 2014
Keep an eye out… we’re sure they’ll be plenty more hijacking of #GoT to come!