Stealth Campaign for Game of Thrones Goes Public

HBO and our partner Elastic TV wowed a crowd of dedicated Game of Throne fans during one of the most popular panels of the week at SXSW.

How do you come up with campaign content that holds the attention of “the world’s most deeply immersed fans” for 30 seconds, much less the 5-month-long dark winter between seasons?

How about by taking away the one thing they want most: time to make sense out of the jumbled visions central to the show (#TheSight)?

Audiences never knew when the next one would drop. But when your phone lit up with an ominous G.O.T. message and associated hyperlink, that was your cue to watch and share.

HBO’s team was willing to risk it. Ominous visions appeared on fan’s phones without warning and disappeared at the end of a single play.

Marketing or Unmarketing?

People disagreed wildly on what they had seen. Would ephemeral visions designed to excite fans just anger them? Or would pushing (negative) buttons increase virality? The latter, in theory.

“People express a lot of hate for Game of Thrones, but it just means they love it that much more,” Jim Marsh, HBO’s Director of Digital & Social Media told the packed Four Seasons ballroom.

But this wasn’t marketing as usually defined. Jim was prepared for the worst. He knew it was important to measure and understand the impact, good or bad.

Melissa Eccles, Creative Director, Immersive Entertainment for Elastic, brought in Bottlenose to measure where the edge of edgy began, peaked, and, quite possibly, drove off a cliff.

The Goal: Authentic and Immersive

Seers on the show can’t pause and replay their jumbled visions. Neither could fans lured into the campaign.

As Melissa shared via our visualizations, Nerve Center® articulated the psychographics of the social bloom of discussion and sharing. At the early staggered releases, shock reigned. But soon audience uploads matched HBO’s haphazard style of distribution.

Visions were designed to anger/excite fans. What HBO gave fans as a ‘taste’ of Season 5 was equivalent to watching five seconds of a feature film through a keyhole, which then closed up and disappeared along with the door. ANGER, RAGE and SARCASM were in the top message types, but the great size of INTENT TO WATCH linked with emotions of DESIRE and OPTIMISM suggested that perhaps HBO’s hunch had been correct.

Fans were quick to figure out it was actually visions, plural, and then they were gone.

We successfully identified the emotional composition of HBO’s target audience, with a focus on aggression as a driver of virality.

Did the Risk Pay Off?

To learn the outcome required new metrics.

“It’s not about how many tweets or volume,” Melissa told the crowd. “It’s about how well you did making the emotional connection that tips people into an immersive state.”

“As you innovate new things, the way you measure needs to evolve.” Jim agreed.

“We used tools from Bottlenose,” Melissa said. Nerve Center proved that the risk paid big dividends.

Age Groups
Young people were the biggest group of fans, and in general the younger they were the more enthusiastic they were until you reached the younger Millennials.
People in creative jobs dominated among those who were most immersed in the campaign (and in the show).

Adam Blumenfeld, the Bottlenose Director of Client Digital Strategies who ran the project for us, was modest about the achievement. “It’s easy,” he said, “when you can map real human behavior and emotion.”

Join our CEO Nova in A.I. State of the Union Discussion Online and at SXSW

On Tuesday afternoon at SXSW this week, Bottlenose CEO Nova Spivack will moderate a panel discussion on the State of the Union of A.I. He’s brought together some of the leading pioneers, thinkers and entrepreneurs in the Artificial Intelligence space to discuss where the technology currently stands, what challenges it still faces, and how it will continue to develop over the next few years.

Joining Nova on the panel are Fred Brown, founder and CEO of Next IT; Doug Lenat, President and CEO of Cycorp; and Monica Anderson, CTO of Sensai. We’re excited to have such a broad range of expertise and experience, and expect the discussion to be lively and far reaching.

If you are attending SXSW, we would love to have you join us. You have to RSVP for the panel, as SXSW is expecting a large crowd with limited space. With that in mind, we wanted to open up the discussion for your input. We have asked a number of additional experts working in various facets of A.I. development and theory for their thoughts on the biggest challenges and opportunities currently facing the technology. We’ll be sharing these over twitter throughout the weekend leading up to the panel, and encourage you to join in the discussion.

Follow us and join in the conversation with the hashtags #sxsw #stateunion, and be sure to RSVP to continue the discussion at SXSW this Tuesday.


Bottlenose named to hottest enterprise startups of 2015

hot-startups-toc-logo-100563311-small.idgeComing off a huge year in venture capital investing, the bar is high. But Bottlenose earns a spot on Network World’s running timeline of investments in cloud, security, mobile, big data and other startups of interest to enterprise IT pros.

TechCrunch reports Bottlenose scores funding to help enterprises spot opportunities and threats in real-time

TechCrunch reported on a Series B funding round and Bottlenose’s growing capabilities in enterprise stream data analytics:

“where data needs to be analyzed in real-time, because time is a key advantage … things like financial services, trading, real-time ad buying, or even fending off attacks.”

Read the full story on TechCrunch.

Bottlenose Ranked High in Top 100 Startups

Bottlenose recognitions continue. We’re happy to report we came in ranked #13 in the Top 100 Startups in LAWe believe that’s with a bullet, because we’re trending  towards the top and already higher than such well-known outfits as Tinder.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support as we continue our climb.