- HBO unveiled a branded Snapchat augmented reality (AR) lens to promote last night's premiere of the final season of hit series "Game of Thrones," Variety reported.
- Using Snapchat's new Landmarker AR Lens, HBO this week is letting fans of the show transform New York's iconic Flatiron Building into an ice-covered perch for the show's ice dragon.
- Snapchat users who are near the Flatiron Building, which overlooks Madison Square Park on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, can access the AR feature by tapping the Snapchat camera and selecting the "Game of Thrones" lens. A virtual ice dragon will swoop down and land on top of the building, coating it with ice, as a video on YouTube shows.
HBO's sponsorship of a Snapchat Landmarker Lens will help to spread the word about the final season of "Game of Thrones" as the image-messaging app's users take selfies with the virtual ice dragon and share them with friends, family and followers. The AR activation shows the marketing potential for sponsored Landmarker Lenses, which Snapchat introduced last week at its first developer summit. As part of the launch, Snapchat created the geolocated lenses for major tourist sites like London's Buckingham Palace, the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., the Eiffel Tower in Paris and L.A.'s Chinese Theater. Users can create the AR lenses using Snapchat's Lens Studio.
The sponsorship of a Landmarker Lens will help HBO reach an audience of young adults who are tech-savvy and are among the biggest users of Snapchat. However, the image-messaging app's U.S. user base is set to decline this year for the first time as more people sign up for rival Instagram, researcher eMarketer predicted, but parent company Snap is still showing solid revenue growth and the ability to monetize that user base. Snap reported a 36% gain in revenue to $389.8 million in Q4 2018 amid a 179% surge in ad impressions.
A number of brands are deploying products and marketing around the show's final season premiere, working to capitalize on the show's hype. Dating app OkCupid added a profile badge that lets fans show their enthusiasm for the show, marking the first time users can find a potential match based on their favorite TV show. Meanwhile, AT&T is getting in on the "Game of Thrones" buzz by transforming the carrier's flagship stores in major cities into AR and virtual reality experiences through the Magic Leap One AR headset that recently hit shelves. The activations and OkCupid's themed badge aim to extend the brand and keep fans engaged as they watch the final season.