Hype for HBO Game of Thrones reached proportions as epic as the series itself this week with the latest version of the last season's official trailer, but it is a Snapchat campaign that will really make fans at SXSW -bend your knee.
With the help of what Snapchat calls AR Marker Tech Lenses, HBO has installed a multi-room immersive experience at the festival called "Bleed for the Throne". While interacting with the experience, participants find four AR experiences that are unlocked by images scattered throughout space.
In an experience, fire and ice cover a map of Westeros, while another experience ignites a "Hand of the King "replica pin with flames. On banners throughout the experience, blood-red thrones come from behind portraits of the show's characters, while in a tent devoted to Daenery's, the shadow of dragon armor appears beside silhouettes of her uncharted army.
Activation is part of the larger "Bleed the Throne" campaign, which serves not only to promote the new season but also to help the American Red Cross request blood donations.
For HBO, it is a return to familiar territory, because the premium cable network ran a Snapchat campaign to promoting the second season of the sci-fi series Westworld .
But the experience of Game of Thrones will not be the only AR experience at SXSW built on AR Mark Tech Lins. Amazon will install two murals that bring characters from their new series, Good Omens to life with Snapcat's image recognition capability. In addition, the HBO parent company Warner Bros. wrapped pedicabs and hanged flyers with art from his Detective Pikachu film that unlocks AR experiences in Snapchat.
Available for brands through Lens Studio, Snap will build AR Marker Tech Lenses free for major qualifying customers, according to a corporate president. While other lenses are sufficient to capture customers wherever they are, image recognition technology is ideal for on-site experience for retailers, special events, outdoor advertisers, and other real-world marketing tactics.
Over the past few months, AR Marker Tech Lens has taken the eyes of consumers into previous installations. In February, a store campaign for Nike featuring Lebron James drew the attention of basketball and sneaker fans (not to mention the NBA legend itself) and in January, Snap used the advertising board campaign technology in service of its Snap Original series with Bhad Bhabie.
So while the Thrones game comes to an end (spinoffs in spite of that), it's just the beginning of Snapcat's latest AR magic trick.