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Did Time Warner Cable’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Ad Pay Off?
By: Tom Roarty
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You know the commercial for Time Warner that has been playing for the past few months featuring Daenerys Targaryen’s baby dragon from “Game of Thrones?” The cross promotion took one of HBO’s most-watched shows and used its assets to help promote Time Warner Cable. As I am currently working on a cross-promotion myself, I started to wonder who benefits most from a cross-promotion, and are both parties usually satisfied with the outcome?
Using the Time Warner Cable promotion as an example, I have to state up front that I am not a fan of the cable company. For the past year, I have lived on Apple TV and Netflix, but as a creative, I was drawn to the promotion immediately. It wasn’t because of the services provided by Time Warner, which is what the actual spot is for, but rather the execution of the dragon’s place in the ad. Having never seen “Game of Thrones” before this ad, my curiosity became piqued about the show.
I am stubborn, and if I am not a fan of a product or service, I will not use it no matter what side-offer they throw in. Because of this, I bypassed Time Warner’s cable service and purchased the series on iTunes. In this instance, I couldn’t help but come to the realization that for me, it was the sub-promotion that became the focus. In talking with friends and colleagues, I have found that many of them feel the same way. So generally speaking, is a cross-promotion the way to go? In this instance, if word of mouth is what you are looking for, then the short answer would be “yes.”
For the people that I have spoken to, the Time Warner/“Game of Thrones” spot gave them the opportunity to openly talk about Time Warner in a positive light. Previously, most of the talks surrounding the cable company focused on price vs. content, something most people weren’t happy with. By generating a positive vibe, people may become more open to the service even if they had a bad experience with it in the past. The issue then becomes: Once Time Warner hooks possible ex-clientele with this promotion, will they be able to lure them back as subscribers again?
At the end of the day, the spot was created to generate new or upgraded subscriptions. Having a strong tie-in to boost consumer interest was a great strategy. For “Game of Thrones,” it seemed to have generated enough buzz to get people such as myself to get talking about the show. However, in order to get the end result Time Warner is hoping for, they are going to have to work a little harder in providing services people will be willing to pay for. Maybe now that HBO is going to start streaming its content, more people will take a chance on Time Warner-owned products, but only time will tell.

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