Cannes Lions

Game of Thrones: Twitter Emoji Engine

HBO, New York / HBO / 2018

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For the past six seasons of Game of Thrones, the massive worldwide fan-base has been told that “Winter Is Coming”. On the Summer Solstice, June 21, HBO confirmed the long-predicted theory and declared that #WinterIsHere in Season 7, with a Twitter emoji engine that revealed exclusive content about the highly anticipated new season.


HBO kicked off the Summer Solstice with a new, winter-themed trailer for Season 7, announcing #WinterIsHere. As soon as the trailer dropped, Game of Thrones activated a Twitter Emoji Engine, which gave fans the chance to unlock all 12 Season 7 character posters through use of clever combinations of #WinterIsHere + [an emoji] tweeted @GameOfThrones. This marks the first time the tool has been used to release key marketing materials of this stature.

Throughout the day, Game of Thrones responded in real-time to summer-themed conversations happening on Twitter, sharing winter-themed gifs, and reminding everyone that despite the warm weather, #WinterIsHere on July 16. Additionally, use of the #WinterIsHere hashtag activated a special Night King Hashflag graphic and certain emojis triggered content related to other HBO shows.


Less than 30 minutes after launching, #WinterIsHere was trending worldwide, right behind #SummerSolstice. In less than 24 hours, #WinterIsHere, #GameofThrones, #GoTS7 and @GameofThrones garnered 288K, 140K, 62K, and 199K mentions, respectively. Overall, there were 870K tweets about Game of Thrones and 174M impressions.

When winter finally came on premiere day it was truly a season to remember. Game of Thrones’ social following grew to over 32M across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Season 7 was the most watched premiere and HBO program ever. It also dominated social buzz and was Nielsen's most social TV series of 2017.

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