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HBO's "Game of Thrones" Marketing Has Gone Nutty

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 22, 2011 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 22, 2011 |

It seems that the kindly folks in the marketing department of HBO have finally run out of footage to splice into yet another trailer, as they’ve moved on to publicity that is verging on the absolutely bizarre. They’re now leveraging odors, scenic views, Russian text, and even the weather in their attempts to really work the viewership into a frenzy.

They mailed a carved wooden box to the Pajiba citadel a couple of weeks ago, a kit which contained a bunch of authentic looking scrolls and handmade glass vials full of various liquids and sealed with wax. Instructions from the Maester’s Path described how to combine the various liquids in order to produce the true scent of the North and of the Dothraki Sea. I half-expected to be disappeared at the airport for trying to smuggle a medieval chemical bomb onto the plane, but they let me through, meaning that either security was lousy, or HBO has people everywhere. Frankly, I’m a bit terrified to be mixing strange chemicals together and then sniffing the result. That never ended well in college, and I don’t see how the promise of smelling authentic grassland would sit well with my allergies.

Next up, they’ve created an online rendering of the top of the Wall that one can navigate in the first person through a browser. You can find that here. Yep, that’s a snowy wall alright, and there seems to be a variety of mini-games embedded in the Flash.

Oh, and I found a new poster for the series online, though I’m not sure exactly how new it is. It looks pretty neat though, although it’s inexplicably half in Russian and half in English. HBO is really hoping to pitch the series to Anglo-Russian bilinguists, which is clearly a huge and untapped market.


I saved the best for last. They’ve now released a Game of Thrones smart phone app that works like a weather app. Basically, it tells you what the current weather is where you are at, and then it tells you where in the world of Game of Thrones you are at. I hope that the 10 day forecast just says “winter is coming” no matter what.

It really can’t be April soon enough to debut this show. If it gets pushed back even a couple of weeks, there’s no telling what this marketing team will get up to.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.