Dragons and Hashtags: A Cultural Phenomenon


When A Game of Thrones—the first book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series—was published in 1996, names like Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, the Red Keep and The Wall were confined to those first 694 pages. More than 20 years later, those stories have erupted beyond any number of pages, through eight seasons of appointment-viewing television into a cultural phenomenon which may not ever be matched.

So, it comes as no surprise that in today’s digital world where conversations are happening online, brands have not been shy about entering into the #GameofThrones conversation during the final six-episode race to the Iron Throne.

Bud Light got the ball rolling with its crossover Super Bowl ad in which Bud Light’s Bud Knight was unhorsed by Game of Thrones’ the Mountain and subsequently killed in an extremely “Game of Thrones” fashion. Shake Shack for the past month has offered special menu items, the Dracarys Burger and Dragonglass Shake, paying homage to #FortheThrone. Johnnie Walker released a special White Walker Scotch. And in the lead up to the premiere, the Minnesota Timberwolves became the Direwolves on social media, creating cross-branding content and merchandise.

But what happens when the cultural phenomenon surrounding a work of art becomes bigger than the art itself? On the same weekend that Avengers: Endgame broke domestic and international box office records, nearly 18 million viewers tuned into the climactic third episode of Thrones’ final season and show-related hashtags trended up and down Twitter and round and round again. When so many brands enter the fold, trying to grab a slice of the pie, is the overall effect diminished? Or does it allow creatives the opportunity to use the cultural event to produce something unique for their brand?

We may never see another television show like Game of Thrones again, but our culture craves transcendent events—an opportunity to be a part of something that extends far beyond our couches, online communities or hashtag. As millions sit down to watch on Sunday night, brands will be looking for a way to say goodbye and take one last bite of pie. They’ll also be looking for the next one—and that’s a good thing. Brands would be wise to let creatives be creative. Game of Thrones has shown us that culture drives the conversation and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a small part of it.

LinkedIn Moves to Visual

The trend towards visual social media platforms is no secret—in October of 2013, Twitter redesigned its feed so that photos would appear without clicking a link, and then Facebook purchased Instagram, the ultimate image-sharing app. Now LinkedIn is joining the party, by launching a redesigned homepage urging users to upload photos, which could help boost the site’s mobile growth. LinkedIn is continuing to look into other ways to grow their news feed, but it seems that images are a good place to start. [source]

Give a Cup of Coffee…via Twitter?


Yup, it’s true: in addition to sharing photos, links and personal updates, you can now share the gift of a cup of Starbucks coffee on Twitter. Starbucks has recently launched its “tweet-a-coffee” program, enabling Twitter users to give a $5 virtual gift card to anyone they know with a Twitter handle. Whether it’s for your best friend, your sister or a random Twitter user that you happen to admire, send them a cup of coffee and let them know you’re thinking of them.

Unfriending a Breakup


The day of love is over, and now we look to tackle the complications of falling out of love. In our ever growing social-sharing world it becomes harder and harder to escape painful memories of an ex without a blatant delete. The new app, KillSwitch, is “making breakups suck less” by discreetly removing the traces of your ex from your Facebook profile– no unfriending, untaging or deactivation involved.


Girl Scouts Hit the Streets and this Time, They’re Not Knocking

Just when you thought you had all the food trucks mapped out by muscle memory, the Girl Scouts have decided to change the cookie game forever by revamping their plan for mass dissemination. Starting tomorrow, for the first annual National Girl Scout Cookie Day, New Yorkers will be able to pinpoint the exact location of their Thin Mints and Samoas using the organization’s custom Girl Scout Cookie Finder app. Not good enough? @GirlScouts will also be live tweeting their NYC cookie truck locations throughout the day.