Game of Thrones: #GOTWAR 2015 (Canalsat, France)
In anticipation of the fifth season of Game of Thrones, which premiered in France on April 13, 2015, French Pay-TV operator Canalsat again launched a Twitter-based ‘#GoTWar’ (designed and produced by Bigger than Fiction). From April 1 to 4, fans could join one of four armies and then participate in the daily Twitter battles taking place between 12 and 4 pm for the chance to win tickets for a private advanced screening of the first episode of season 5 on April 9. To enter the sweepstakes, fans had to write at least one Tweet including the channel’s Twitter handle @Canalsat, the hashtag #GoTWar and the hashtag of the army they wanted to join – #ArméeStark, #ArméeBaratheon, #ArméeLannister or #ArméeTargaryen (the four main houses fighting for the Iron Throne in the series). All tweets and retweets with an army’s hashtag added one soldier to that army.
On the dedicated ‘#GoTWar’ website, users were provided with an overview of each army’s strength, i.e. how many fans had joined the individual armies, and a countdown to the beginning of the next battle. The website also displayed the numbers of new soldiers having joined the respective armies in real-time and featured selected Tweets of players. Fans could also join the ‘#GoTWar’ directly on the website by entering their Twitter handle at the bottom of the site and then selecting the army they want to join. To join, users simply had to click on the button below the army’s banner and tweet out the dedicated tweet to enter the sweepstakes.
The website additionally provided an overview of the armies and their leaders. Each army had four leaders, which were participating partner blogs promoting the game. Fans could earn additional entries in the sweepstakes by supporting the army leaders of their choice via the dedicated buttons. The army overview also included the Twitter avatars of the fans who have joined the armies most recently and a summary of the main events during the last battles.
During the battles, which took place from 12 to 4 pm each day, the armies fought each other in joint attacks. Each army determined which opposing army should be attacked in consultation with the four leaders. The army leaders then had to announce their decision before the battles began on Twitter using the hashtag #ATTAQUER and the hashtag of the opposing army.
For each joint attack, the attacking army lost 10% of its soldiers, while the attacked army lots 25% of its soldiers. By clicking on the “add soldier” buttons below the army banners or by posting a tweet with an army hashtag, users could add a new soldier to their army. The number of losses and new soldiers of each army were displayed in real-time during a battle. After the last battle on April 4, 80 randomly drawn winners received tickets to the private screening. Members of the winning army – i.e. the army with the highest number of living soldiers at the end of the war – had a higher chance of winning.
Within only 15 minutes after the campaign launched, the hashtag #GoTWar became a trending topic on Twitter. In total, it generated over 140 million impressions and users wrote more than 63,000 Tweets with the hashtag.
American Idol: Idol Fan Save (FOX, USA)
Starting with the Top 8 live show of the fourteenth season of singing competition American Idol on April 1, 2015, FOX introduced the new Twitter-based ‘Idol Fan Save’. Now viewers have the chance to save one of the bottom two contestants from elimination each week through a real-time voting on Twitter.
At some point during the show, host Ryan Seacrest reveals the bottom two contestants who received the least number of votes in the previous week. After the two contestants have performed, their “save” hashtags (#Save(ContestantName)) appear on-air. Viewers then have 5 minutes to tweet their save votes with the specific hashtag of the contestant they want to save from elimination. Alternatively, they can vote by retweeting the dedicated Tweets posted on the official American Idol Twitter account. Once the five-minute ‘Idol Fan Save’ window closes, the results are immediately revealed by host Ryan Seacrest. The contestant having received more votes on Twitter then advances to the next round, while the other is eliminated.
Mr. Robot: social activations (USA NETWORK, USA)
To promote its new computer hacker drama Mr. Robot, which debuted on March 17, 2015 at the SXSW Film Festival and will officially premiere on June 24, USA Network deployed a group of “hackers”, men dressed in black “Mr. Robot” hoodies and black sunglasses, to infiltrate the festival for an interactive social viral activation. The hackers handed out white cards to the festival crowd, which could earn free food by following the instructions on the card.
The white cards told the festival-goers to open the official SXSW GO mobile app and turn on their Bluetooth. Then, they received a push notification from “Mr. Robot” that challenged them to find another hacker at participating SouthBites food trucks, the Hideout Coffeehouse or Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace. For an immediate reward, the white cards also challenged the attendees to take a selfie with one of the hackers, which earned them a black card. The black cards were vouchers worth $10 that were redeemable at the same venues.
During the festival, USA Network also partnered with wireless provider Boingo and agency 360i to “hack” the festival attendees’ mobile screens and provide them with free Wi-Fi at the Austin airport. Using geo-specific targeting, the screens of Wi-Fi users at the airport were taken over by a full-screen notification telling travelers that “Mr. Robot” is supplying them with free Wi-Fi. After accepting, users were additionally given the chance to learn more about the series by clicking on the link provided.
To also promote the new series outside of the SXSW festival, USA Network launched the mysterious website WhoIsMrRobot.com in mid-March. When opening the code-style website, users were simply asked if they want to know a secret. When answering the question with “yes”, a short video started playing. In the video, a voice talks about a secret conspiracy involving a powerful group of people that is secretly running the world. On the next screen, users were greeted by “Mr. Robot” and asked if they want to join him and the #fsociety in the fight against the powerful corporate masters. Users could enter their Email address to sign up for future updates.
On April 20, the campaign then moved to the next round, as all people who had signed up received a mysterious Email from Mr. Robot himself. At the bottom of the Email was a puzzle made up of binary code. To convert the binary code into text, people had to use a binary translator. The translated version then read ‘enter “420” at the prompt’.
Clicking on Mr. Robot’s message within the email redirected users to a new page on WhoIsMrRobot.com. To “begin their education”, users are asked to type in one of three commands: Question, wakeup or join. Depending on the command, users activate a slideshow featuring anti-capitalist banners and paroles, can rewatch the previously launched teaser trailer for the series or sign up for the “Mr. Robot” newsletter (if they accessed the website without having signed up before). Users who choose to follow the command of the binary code and type in the number ‘420’ are provided with a hidden easter-egg: A quote from Bob Marley in celebration of ‘420’, an annually counterculture-holiday-like event that celebrates the consumption of cannabis on April 20 (4/20 in US form).
In addition, USA Network released an exclusive sneak-preview at the first 4 minutes and 20 seconds of the series’ pilot on the official “Mr. Robot” Facebook page. The sneak-preview was accompanied by another video that revealed the face of “Mr. Robot” behind a cloud of smoke along the hashtags #Happy420 and #HighSociety. Moreover, Facebook fans could find a video of Mr. Robot smoking cannabis. Until the series’ premiere on June 24th, more and more content will be released.
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