news\ Mar 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

HBO 'cold call' leads to Game of Thrones and League of Legends promotional campaign


Over the weekend, HBO and Riot Games kicked off a new promotional campaign that sees the network's Game of Thrones series team up with the studio's popular franchise League of Legends. The three-week program, which began on March 22nd, is designed to promote the fourth season of Game of Thrones, which debuts on April 6th, [a]listdaily first reported.

The partnership, according to Riot Games' VP of eSports and Merchandising, Dustin Beck, is a result of a "cold call from HBO."

"[HBO] thought there was going to be a great overlap between our p layers and their demographic of people that watch Game of Thrones and this was a good way to explore reaching that demographic through new media," Beck said. "We’ve done a lot of player surveys to see what our fans like and dislike and I think a lot of the discussion and strategies going forward that we have are going to cater to our fan base. We want to make sure that any activations that we do are super authentic to our fans and that we’re not working with brands that aren’t going to have any value to our players."

While complete details remain somewhat of a mystery, Beck did reveal that Riot is working on a "mash-up trailer" that will likely combine characters from both the League of Legends and Game of Thrones universes. In turn, HBO will be doing a three-week activation with ads and website takeovers.

This is just the latest in a series of partnerships with non-endemic advertisers. Last year, Riot Games and American Express introduced a new credit card that rewards users with free RP, a currency used in-game, for each purchase. And as eSports continue to grow in popularity and reach, I believe we'll see more and more of these types of partnerships -- as does Beck.

"Generally speaking, a lot of non-endemic players are starting to take notice given some of the mainstream press we’ve been getting recently, whether it’s our Staples Center event or our announcement about doing an All-Star Game in Paris," he said. "Big names are now starting to understand the demographic that they’re able to reach through eSports, which is a relative nuanced and new demographic that they traditionally haven’t been able to reach effectively."

You can check out the first advertisement for Game of Thrones as seen in the 2014 North American LCS pre-show from this weekend (at 5:30 mark).

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