5 Marketing Lessons from NoT Watching GoT

May 30, 2019 • Aaron Goldman

Yes, you read that right…not watching Game of Thrones these past 8 years has taught me a lot about marketing. It’s also taught me a lot about my friends but I’ll save that for another time. Here’s what I’ve learned about the former…

  1. Metaphors Magnify. Marketing is all about storytelling. And strong stories require incredible imagery – sometimes literally but always figuratively. This is where metaphors come in. Like sharing glasses of fine wine, metaphors put everyone on the same wavelength. They create a common understanding. And for our industry, we GoT to agree they’re better than acronyms! You don’t even need to be in on the joke to use them. Case in point is my LinkedIn Post this week in which I declared, “Iron Throne or not, content is king!” while promoting our CEO, Lance’s byline for AdExchanger titled, “The Next ‘Game of Thrones’ Megahit Will Be Monetized ‘Beyond the Wall.” From what I’ve heard and read, GoT was filled with symbolism ranging from politics to climate change. Using fantasy to tackle these topics can be fairly fantastic. And alliteration’s alright also. 🙂
  2. Live Lives. Call it what you want – must-see-TV or appointment viewing (you know I like metaphors) – but the phenomenon of watching shows when they air is still alive and well. The conventional wisdom has been that the value of live television has been relegated to sports and award shows. But that myth is bunk. And GoT helped debunk it. There’s something special about shared media experiences and its ability to foster human connection. That’s why moment marketing – and in particular TV syncing – is such a powerful tactic. Carpe momentum!
  3. Social Spoils. Unless there’s someone on the couch next you or – or even if there is! – social media is typically the first place you turn for reactions to a live experience. Whether it’s to share your POV or see another person’s, platforms like Twitter and Facebook have taken the “ticker” concept from the bottom of the screen to the second-screen. In a way, social media is the insider version of closed captioning. Although caveat videntium, as spoilers abound. I’ve spent the last 8 years dodging GoT hashtags so I can go on my binge with clear eyes and full heart. (Can’t lose.) FWIW, I just began my journey this week with Season 1 Episode 1 and used closed captioning ­– the real kind not the social kind – to help me keep track of names and location. So far so good! As for marketers, the imperative is to deliver surround-sound experiences and always have a social response plan.
  4. TV Tilts. Speaking of social, TV has proven to drive a demonstrable lift in social engagement. In the UK, where Sky Atlantic aired ads during GoT episodes, IKEA reigned with nearly 500% increase in the 5 minutes following its commercial. As I told The Drum for its recap of our TV Social Lift Rankings, “In today’s cross-channel media world, these figures represent a more holistic view of advertising’s net effect than just counting views or viewers.” This is where Kinetiq comes in. The combination of iQ Media and Teletrax enables a wide range of metrics by which to quantify the impact of TV placement.
  5. Convergence Crowns. Whether you’re looking to conquer the Lumascape or Westeros, a unified approach is always the best strategy. To be fair, since I don’t know how GoT ends I can’t be sure that whoever won the throne actually used any sort of coalition to do so but I’d like think that at least some of the kingdoms found common ground and worked together. In the marketing world, turf wars of siloed media channels are quickly being absolved. As our CPO, Anupam, put it in his 2021 pontification piece for Broadcasting and Cable last week, “Linear and digital distinctions will fall away, as discussions of audiences and integrated cross-channel strategies take center stage.” It’s all in Scope, dragons be damned. #4CTheFutureofMedia

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to get back to bingeing. Summer is coming, right?

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