‘Game of Thrones’ campaign earns international award

The Dark Hedges is just one the locations that has proved hugely populare with tourists
The Dark Hedges is just one the locations that has proved hugely populare with tourists

Tourism Ireland has scooped a top marketing award for its ‘Northern Ireland, Game of Thrones Territory’ campaign.

The International Content Marketing Awards – organised by the Content Marketing Association (CMA) – took place recently in London.

Tourism Ireland was one of ten organisations shortlisted in the “best travel” category for its 2015 Game of Thrones campaign, beating off stiff competition from the likes of British Airways, Scandinavian Airlines and Quantas Airways.

The agency once again joined forces with HBO this spring, to promote Northern Ireland around the world – capitalising on the huge global success of Game of Thrones and the fact that much of the show was filmed in the province.

Timed to coincide with the return of the fifth season of Game of Thrones, the campaign was rolled out, through Facebook and Twitter, in Great Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

This year’s campaign involved a series of nine micro-action videos, each filmed in the province and each featuring key themes from the show that fans were talking about on social media.

The short films, plus a series of images, were distributed by across Facebook and Twitter, the spaces where most of the discussion around the show was taking place, over a 12-week period during key episodes of the show, generating more than 4.5 million views on Facebook and 38,000 likes on Instagram.

Describing the campaign as “a hugely creative idea with incredible results”, the judges said it demonstrated “great amplification and fantastic multi-platform activation”.

Brian Twomey, Tourism Ireland’s head of marketing communications, said: “We are delighted that our Game of Thrones campaign has been singled out for this award by the Content Marketing Association.

“We were really pleased to continue our partnership with HBO in 2015, to highlight Northern Ireland and its beautiful landscape – through the exciting events of Game of Thrones – on the global stage.

“Our aim was to reach out to the show’s global fanbase, spiking their curiosity about the landscapes and locations featured in the series and inspiring them to come and explore them for themselves. We are constantly looking at innovative and engaging ways of reaching potential holidaymakers for Northern Ireland, so we are particularly honoured to receive this award.”

The strength of the connection was also reflected in research for HBO earlier this year in the top four markets – about destinations that people most wanted to visit, having been inspired by TV and film. The Co Antrim coastline was listed as the third most popular destination after New Zealand (Lord of the Rings) and New York (or Sex and the City).