Cannes Lions

#ROASTJOFFREY

360i, New York / HBO / 2014

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Overview

Description

HBO wanted to keep “Game of Thrones” fans engaged during a lull between seasons, sustaining the show’s massive momentum in spite of the fact that the next new episode would not air for several months.

Among TV’s leading villains, social listening showed that King Joffrey Baratheon was *the most hated* character on the internet in 2013. So, HBO launched the world’s first-ever social media comedy roast. For 48 hours, fans were invited to vent their Joffrey frustrations alongside hand-picked celebrity fans and influencers who would help boost the PR impact of the campaign. The @GameofThrones handle hosted the live event, and all content aggregated within a single feed on ROASTJOFFREY.com.

The event included a social newsroom established to respond to roaster' taunts and jokes from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in real time. The PR component was key as celebrities, influencers and popular social content creators were leveraged to amplify the roast early on to drum up fan interest. Even the cast of “Game of Thrones” got involved. Hundreds of press outlets caught wind of the stunt, reaching an international audience and driving millions of conversations about “Game of Thrones” despite the fact that the show had been off the air for months.

#ROASTJOFFREY generated 63,000+ original roasts and trended nationally within an hour of launch. It received 800 million earned media impressions (including positive coverage in Entertainment Weekly, the Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair) and 1 million social engagements, creating a 367% lift in Game Of Thrones mentions year-over-year.

Execution

The campaign unfolded with digital and offline extensions, playing into the hands of existing fan behaviour while at the same delighting fans with real-time responses from the King himself, celebrity/influencer fan roasts and cast member interactions. HBO’s @GameofThrones handle played host, curating UGC into a single feed on ROASTJOFFREY.com, as taunts poured in from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine for 48 straight hours. To field the out pour of fan contributions, HBO created a social newsroom tasked with curating the best and most hilarious jabs and providing real-time responses to the roasters via GIFs and other custom content.

Offline, HBO reps at colleges nationwide hosted study break pop-up roasts where coeds could film and contribute content “from the throne” that is uploaded directly to the event. This extension was timed against pre-exam study days, in which we know millions of students nationwide would be procrastinating by binge-watching their favourite shows.

Outcome

#ROASTJOFFREY exceeded HBO’s goal of sparking “Game of Thrones” conversations during the off-season, and proved to be one of the program’s most talked-about campaigns ever despite taking place five months before the next season premièred.

- Awareness: The PR play contributed to 800 million earned media impressions in a matter of days, garnering positive media attention from key trade outlets like Entertainment Weekly, the Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair and capturing headlines such as, “Move over Comedy Central, King’s Landing Really Knows how to Throw a Roast.” Roasts and press coverage poured in from around the world, giving the campaign international reach.

- Action: Fans submitted 63,000+ original roasts in just 48 hours, propelling #ROASTJOFFREY to become a trending topic on Twitter within one hour of launch. The effort also generated 1 million social media engagements (likes, comments and shares) and led to 367% increase in Game of Thrones mentions year-over-year.

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