Game of Thrones Proves Print Ads Aren’t Dead (and Neither Are Dragons)

In case you missed it (because we somehow did!), HBO ran a massive Game of Thrones ad in last Monday’s New York Times. At first glance, this spot may have sent readers ducking for cover or calling out for the nearest sword-wielding resident of Winterfell.

Game of Thrones New York Times

We’d say this promo campaign, complete with fictional stories that ran parallel with the show’s plot points and an ominous dragon shadow splayed across two pages of newsprint, proves that newspaper advertising can still generate some serious buzz when it’s done right.

Of course, HBO isn’t relying on print alone for its major GoT marketing campaign; in a follow-up to the NYT ad, the premium cable giant decided to take the duck-and-cover dragon shadow to the next level by featuring the image on the facade of its own Los Angeles high-rise last Tuesday.

And because, as we all know, no campaign is complete without an engaging social media element, Game of Thrones Ascent, an officially licensed, Facebook-powered game based on the HBO show and George R.R. Martin‘s novels, recently entered the open beta testing stage. The free game allows players to create characters, enter the kingdom of Westeros, and join in on the bloody power struggles (sadly, the game will not contain nearly as much gratuitous nudity as the show itself).

Fans are given different advantages depending on the house to which they swear fealty (Stark, Lannister or Targeryen). And since it’s played through Facebook, friends will be able join forces or challenge each other to compete (always wanted to squash that old high school rival? Now’s your chance!). Disruptor Beam, the studio behind Ascent, will allow fans to control the action by updating the game throughout the beta period and adding features at users’ request.

Print ads and Facebook and dragons, oh my! We’d say that HBO has all of its marketing bases covered. What more could a fan want? Well, as we’ve said before, maybe just a little less animal death and a little more Jon Snow…