Case Study

'Westworld’ fans got a taste

of season three with a never-before-seen campaign on Twitter

 

HBO partnered with Twitter Next and IBM to bring fans up to speed before ‘Westworld’ season three

Key results

37%
fans opted-in to the custom Branded Notifications campaign1

 

+290%
more people Tweeted about “Westworld” season three finale compared to prior season two3

+68%
increase in Promoted Trend Spotlight impressions compared to benchmark2

The opportunity

Fans of HBO’s “Westworld” know patience better than most TV die-hards. After a nail-biting Season 2 finale, they waited two years for the premiere of season three which was well worth the wait. 

But two years is a long time, and many “Westworld” fans expressed that they felt out of the loop with the show plot and needed a refresher. 

HBO saw an opportunity to create excitement and conversation on Twitter in a never-before-seen way.

The strategy

How do the creators of a hit sci-fi television series invite fans into their dystopian world? They bring in the power of IBM WatsonTM artificial intelligence to give them a part to play in the futuristic society of “Westworld.” 

HBO’s in-house creative team worked with Guud as well as Hearts & Science to create a campaign that targeted both casual and obsessed fans of “Westworld” in the US, Mexico, and Brazil. When a fan of the show liked a @WestworldHBO Tweet for a premiere reminder, a Twitter app connected to the show’s handle communicated with IBM WatsonTM Personality Insights. Watson would analyze the fan’s most recent Tweets, and the app would assign their fate in 2058 to match them with one of six different “Westworld” personalities. Sounds like a warm #WelcomeTo2058.

Steps to success:

HBO’s campaign execution was a well-oiled machine. Here’s how they did it: 

Tags
  • TV
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Technology
  • Case Study
  • North America

01

Use Branded Notifications to reward engaged fans.

When people liked HBO’s Branded Notifications Tweet, they later received a scheduled notification Tweet that reminded them to tune in on premiere night, thanks to the hyper customized Watson-powered creative.

02

Launch internationally with multilingual programming.

#WelcomeTo2058 was also launched in Latin American markets, including Mexico and Brazil with Spanish and Portuguese Branded Notifications. 

03

Use Trend Takeover+ to create large-scale brand awareness.

HBO reminded fans to tune in on premiere day with a prime spot on the Explore tab called Trend Takeover+. They also released videos to tease the upcoming season and topped it off with a Branded Hashtag that complemented the conversation.

04

Keep the conversation going after premiere night with a product giveaway.

After the premiere, HBO wanted to go above and beyond for fans. Using Video Ads, they encouraged fans to Tweet #WelcomeTo2058 in exchange for “Westworld”-themed swag. 

05

Run a Trend Takeover with downstream messaging.

One week later, HBO built on the hyped-up conversation with another Twitter Takeover. This time, they paired the Trend Takeover feature on the Explore tab with a Video Ad to target downstream messaging and encourage people to keep tuning in to future episodes. 

The success

HBO hit it out of the park with the “Westworld” season three campaign.

Over 37,000 people in the US and 60,000 people around the world opted in to the custom Branded Notifications campaign between March 13-16 2020 to have IBM Watson™ artificial intelligence match them with one of six “Westworld” hosts.4

By immersing fans of the show into the “Westworld” universe, HBO reignited excitement for the premiere after a two-year wait. 

In the US, #WelcomeTo2058 received +68% more Trend Takeover+ impressions compared to the benchmark.5

By the end of the season, +290% more people Tweeted about the finale compared to the season two finale.  And globally, there were triple the mentions of the campaign in just three days compared to the show’s final trailer.

Plus, the campaign garnered enough positive attention that it also won the category of Best campaign from the future as part of Twitter's 2020 Best of Tweets Awards

It was a successful campaign and a nail-biting season all the way to the finale. Now, we wait for season four. 

Sources

1 Insights Engine, 2020, US.
2 Insights Engine, 2020, US. Data pulled for season 2 finale (June 24, 2018) compared to season 3 finale (May 3, 2020). Total Spotlight Trend Impressions: 73.1M *Twitter estimates between 45-60M impressions for this unit 
3 Total Spotlight Trend Impressions: 73.1M *Twitter estimates between 45-60M impressions for this unit
4  Insights Engine, 2020, US. Data pulled for season 2 finale (June 24, 2018) compared to season 3 finale (May 3, 2020)
5 Insights Engine, 2020, US. Total Spotlight Trend Impressions: 73.1M *Twitter estimates between 45-60M impressions for this unit
6 Insights Engine, 2020, US.

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