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Game of Thrones final season: HBO brand partners get creative


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

April 10, 2019 | 13 min read

The final season of HBO's flagship Game of Thrones is set to air on Sunday (14 April) after eight-years of explosive drama and shocking twists. As fans wave goodbye to Westeros though, they also bid farewell to a series of creative brand partnerships.

Game of Thrones

Oreo, Bud Light, Mountain Dew and Now TV stunts and creative

Since 2011, the fantasy show has partnered and integrated with top brands to fund the series. Among them, HBO secured Oreo, Mountain Dew, and Bud Light have signed up as sponsors in a bid to off-set CGI costs, rampant piracy and the ever-increasing fees of the cast.

With the show being set in an imaginary, barbaric world, product placement has not been an option, and this has forced brands to get more creative than ever before to integrate themselves into the franchise that has defined event TV.

With the final season set to air (or leak) this week, brands have one final chance to make the most of Game of Thrones, as a result, many of those involved have upped their game and delivered top work that stands apart from the show.

In many instances, these sponsorships have helped build value for fans, and given them a flavour of Game of Thrones before's its long-anticipated return.

Ahead of series eight, watch the most recent work from sponsors and partners below.


In what the Mondelez cookie brand promised was its largest ever partnership, it meticulously reconstructed the stop-motion titles of the Game of Thrones franchise with 2,750 cookies to promote one of its largest-ever brand collaborations.

The film was created by agency 360i to promote the brand’s latest limited-edition pack, which features embossed designs of the fantasy houses fighting for the Iron Throne – as well as the face of the White Walkers beyond the wall.

The film was created by agency 360i to promote the brand’s latest limited-edition pack, which features embossed designs of the fantasy houses fighting for the Iron Throne – as well as the face of the White Walkers beyond the wall.

Additionally, fans of the show will be able to pledge their loyalty to House Lannister, House Targaryen, House Stark or The Night King via the brand’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Mondelez has cryptically promised to ‘select fans throughout the season with a special treat for participating’ with this direct engagement.

Bud Light

Dilly Dilly? More like Killy Killy – this was the message from Bud Light during the Super Bowl with a big tie-in with HBO. The mashup saw Game of Thrones’ The Mountain defeat the Bud Knight. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon burned the ‘Dilly Dilly’ kingdom to ash.

The spot began 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 loomed over that viewers realized they were also watching a promo for the final season of Game of Thrones.

The work saw an epic collaboration between BudLight's ad agency Wieden+Kennedy and HBO's Droga5.

Two months later, a second spot emerged, the week Game of Thrones was set to return to screens.

There have been hints at future shenanigans between the brands. The Bud Knight clearly has unfinished business...

Major League Baseball

Much like the Oreo creative reimagined the intro scene, MLB showed a baseball stadium being assembled.

Scored by the show's theme, the sport is looking crossover between the fandoms. Replacing Westeros are the major stadiums of North America.

The spot ends assuring viewers 'Baseball is Coming'. Limited edition bobbleheads have also been created to mark the partnership. Each of the MLB's 30 teams have three bespoke bobblehead figurine upon the Iron Throne in stock.

Matthew Katz, licensing manager at FOCO (which delivers the merch), said: "As fans of the Game of Thrones series, FOCO is thrilled to partner with HBO and MLB to launch these unique cross-licensed bobbleheads.

"Fans now have the chance to bring together the Seven Kingdoms and the 30 MLB teams, and we are sure everyone will be excited to collect these special bobbleheads."



Game of Thrones and Diageo formed an alliance to release a limited-edition collection of single malt whiskies to celebrate the eighth and final season of the long-running HBO drama.

The collection is inspired by the characters and the world of Westeros, and features eight scotches, each paired with one of the Houses of Westeros, as well as the Night's Watch, giving fans a taste of the Seven Kingdoms.

Jeff Peters, vice president, licensing & retail at HBO, said when the news was first announced last October: “We knew there was fan appetite for a Game of Thrones whisky and once we saw the vision from Johnnie Walker for a way to collaborate we knew the idea was perfect and the time was now.

“From the beginning, they understood that we wanted to create something special, and they’ve accomplished that with White Walker by Johnnie Walker.”

HBO previously worked with Diageo to create White Walker by Johnnie Walker, inspired by Game of Thrones' icy villains.

This blend was created to be served directly from the freezer. Whisky specialist George Harper alongside the small team of expert blenders at Johnnie Walker. blended the single malts from Cardhu and Clynelish.

Mountain Dew

While Oreo remixed the Game of Thrones intro, Mountain Dew enlisted US sports stars and musicians to try its theme music - acapella.

Members of Migos also turned up the heat in the spot while perched on the Iron Throne.

It also released a limited line of unbranded cans, under the hashtag, #acanhasnoname. To win an unbranded can, fans were sent to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to tell it what they'd sacrifice for a can. Participants were then entered into a prize draw.

Fans were also sent on a treasure hunt to find special coins in New York and Los Angeles, these coins fit special vending machines stocked with the cans of unbranded Dew. The coins pay tribute to the secret calling cards of the Faceless Men who train Arya Stark in the later seasons.

Sky UK and Volvo

Ahead of the series airing on Sky Atlantic, the broadcaster teamed up to create a nationwide ‘7 Kingdoms Tour’.

The experiential event gives fans in seven cities across the UK and Ireland the opportunity to sit on the highly coveted GoT Throne. The idea was that the photos would be widely shared and would raise awareness of its return.

The campaign will extend beyond the tour, with on-air activations throughout the Game of Thrones talk show, Thronecast.

Sky Atlantic

Sky Atlantic, the linear channel that Sky will broadcast the show in the wee houses of the night as it debuts in the US, matched off the Night's Watchmen against the British Army in London.

The stunt from Taylor Herring, brought Westeros' last line of defence to greet the Coldstream Guards at the Tower of London. A marching band delivered the show's theme tune to the audience, backing a choreographed performance.

Sergeant major Richard Maddocks said: “We play all over the world at all sorts of concerts and events, but this was genuinely a career highlight for all of us seasoned Members of the Coldstream Guards Band. Given it’s a favourite TV programme of many of ours."

Now TV

NOW TV's #GOTInk Tattoo Studio

Just in time for the final season…Pledge your Game of Thrones allegiance with a FREE TATTOO! YOU have the chance to step inside Winterfell at our Game of Thrones Tattoo Studio and get a Thrones inspired tattoo, designed by the Queen of Ink, Lauren Winzer – who’s also tatted Miley Cyrus & Sophie Turner Whether you’re a Lannister, a Stark, or even a White Walker… It’s time you #GoTInk #ForTheThrone! Book now:

Posted by NOW TV on Wednesday, 20 March 2019

In April, Sky's streaming service NowTV will entice super fans to its daily packages with a pop-up tattoo parlor offering free ink for Game of Thrones fans. These will serve as a reminder of the franchise long after it comes off the air.

The studio will be at The Circle on Noel Street in Soho on the 16-17 of April. 100 free tattoos are on the slate and fans are to sign up on Eventbrite.

Lauren Winzer, who created and inked Sophie Turner’s iconic ‘The Pack Survives’ tattoo will be wielding the needle in the shop offering 16 different designs.

Although Gizmodo spotted some typos in the tattoo copy.

American Red Cross at SXSW

The show is no stranger to spilling blood, but at SXSW HBO ran an experiential event to drive donations. The American Red Cross is on track to collect 500 units of donated blood from its SXSW partnership with HBO’s Game of Thrones. The three-day ‘Bleed for the Throne’ activation.

“There's not an awareness challenge for Game of Thrones,” said Trevor Guthrie, co-founder of event producer Giant Spoon. “Instead, HBO asked how we could use the final season as a force for good. We spent three days optimizing user flow [through the space] and have been hypercritical about the details of the experience.”

Partnering with the entertainment giant has allowed the American Red Cross to get in front of a national audience of millions – an audience that may previously have associated the charity as one only relevant to its parents, grandparents or great grandparents' generation.



The German sportswear brand created six pairs of limited edition Ultra Boost sneakers based upon the royal houses in the series.

A fresh design was whipped up for the Night’s Watch, the White Walkers, House Targaryen, the Targaryen’s dragons, House Stark, and House Lannister.

The sneaks were laden with house sigils and mantras to further sell the tie-in.

Urban Decay

Urban Decay launched a collection of licensed beauty products inspired by Game of Thrones.

Fans of the show are urged to get the 'For The Throne' look with cosmetics kits modeled on the show. An eyeshadow set features a pop-up iron throne.

The collection features palettes like 'Lannister Red,' 'Winter is Here' and 'White Walker'.

The Bellagio Takeover

Before all hell breaks loose in Westeros, the series was afforded a few evenings of respite in Las Vegas.

At the Bellagio casino and hotel, light show was projected onto the site's fountains, showing many of the themes we've grown accustomed to in the show. An undead dragon and the breaking of the Wall featured.

And finally, for those looking to see their favourite characters immortalised in Lego, Jill Wilfert, Lego’s vice-president of licensing, told The Drum that the brand probably isn't suitable for Lego's young users - although there have been repeated talks to this end.

The work may inspire some guerilla campaigns starring those from the show.

Game of Thrones has revolutionized TV with its water-cooler storylines and brutal twists - it is also proving to be a launch pad for the actors involved, propelling them into the (sometimes) lucrative world of advertising. Here are just some of the ads we caught from top brands looking to ride the wave of populism from Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones' final season debuts in the US on Sunday 14 April 2019, simulcasting with the UK broadcast in the early hours of Monday 15 April on Sky.

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