Tonight’s (3 February) Super Bowl saw HBO and Bud Light unveil a surprise hybrid commercial, in which Game of Thrones’ The Mountain defeats the Bud Knight and Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon burns the ‘Dilly Dilly’ kingdom to ash.
The spot begins as a regular ad from Bud Light, now known for its comically medieval ‘Dilly Dilly aesthetic’. The Bud Knight is seen to be knocked from his horse in a jousting match, yet it’s only when the gigantic silhouette of The Mountain looms over that viewers realize they’re also watching a promo for the final season of Game of Thrones.
Once the Bud Knight is extinguished in a similar fashion to Oberyn Martell, the spectators at the match become more concerned by a dragon flying their way. The flying reptile proceeds to breathe fire upon all those watching in the Dilly Dilly stadium.
The ad is the work of Bud Light’s creative agency Wieden+Kennedy New York, which collaborated with HBO and Droga5 New York to produce the spot. It was kept under wraps until it aired during the Super Bowl in order to make as big an impact as possible.
More than 25 of Game of Thrones’ production staff worked with the ad agencies on the 60-second ‘Joust’, including ‘The Red Wedding’ director David Nutter. The spot’s first half was directed by filmmaker Spencer Riviera, who has previously worked with the beer brand.
An extended, 90-second version of the ad was published online when the original cut aired.
“Game of Thrones is a shared cultural experience for millions of fans around the world,” said Chris Spadaccini, head of marketing at HBO. “So, to kick off the final season campaign, there was no better platform than television’s biggest stage, the Super Bowl.
“Given the high stakes, we needed to create an unforgettable moment that would spark a ton of conversation. We were looking for a brand partner that would be willing to make a bold sacrifice ‘For the Throne’, and we were thrilled when Bud Light answered the call. Together, we created a very meta campaign with a Thrones-worthy twist that is sure to delight fans of both brands.”
Brandon Henderson, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy New York, added: “Once the ‘Dilly Dilly’ campaign started taking off and we realized we had a long-lasting campaign in the medieval world, it became a dream of ours to team up with Game of Thrones. So, when someone brought us the pitch deck, my creative partner, John Parker, and I were really excited by it.
“The opportunity to have our kingdom become a part of the Game of Thrones world was already amazing but showing that on the biggest stage on earth? We couldn't ask for anything more. We're both avid Thrones watchers, so we knew that whatever we made needed to ultimately be satisfying for Game of Thrones’ fans. But the first half of the spot needed to live fully in our world. It was a challenge, but we love where we ended up."