(NBC NEWS) – HBO’s most popular show, Game of Thrones which saw over 30 million viewers last season, returns for its eighth and final season Sunday after being off the air for nearly two years.
HBO is betting big on marketing with a reported ninety million dollar budget in hopes of luring subscribers to both the network and its streaming service.
One area HBO is spending millions, immersive experiences, sending fans on a global scavenger hunt and encouraging viewers to travel the world to find one of the six iron thrones that have been hidden in different countries.
The company also building an immersive experience and blood drive at South by Southwest last month in partnership with the American Red Cross to entice fans to experience Westeros for themselves.
“One of the reasons the audience keeps building is that Game of Thrones is not just a tv show, its a lifestyle, its penetrated the culture in all these different ways,” said Bob Thompson, Syracuse media professor.
Adidas creating limited edition shoes with themes for the different houses in the show battling for the throne.
Johnny Walker created a special “White Walker” themed Whiskey.
Oreos got in on the action by producing an Oreo themed open for the show and is selling limited edition thrones oreos in stores.
And Mountain Dew created this cold activated can in which Arya’s kill list appears once refrigerated. The soft drink inviting fans to enter a social media sweepstakes to get their hands on them.
With so much attention on this final season, HBO is betting its marketing tactics will not only help attract more subscribers to its services but retain them once the show is done.
“The hope is not only this end of Game of Thrones will bring some people to HBO as new subscribers. Also the idea is that HBO wants to make sure that it keeps its subscribers,” Thompson said.