If I were to ask you what your Grandmother’s house smelled like I bet you could answer right?
While it isn’t the sexiest of our senses, smell is a powerful one and one that I haven’t seen used in a marketing campaign in a long time and I know I’ve never seen it used to share with me the smell of an imaginary world of fantasy, swords and horses.
Today, I got a package in the mail from HBO for their upcoming series, Game of Thrones that premieres on April 17th.
Now, I don’t know much about this show besides what I’ve seen from the teasers shown on HBO. But, I’ve been a fan of the original programming on HBO for years. Shows like Oz, True Blood, The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire are some of my favorites. I’m also a life long fan of anything fantasy related so pretty much anything with dragons, swords, castles or armor and you instantly have me interested.
I need to disclose to you that I might be a little biased about this marketing campaign because it was dreamed up by my uber-creative buddy Steve Coulson and the team at Campfire. (of which I still am a stakeholder in) As I was leaving there last summer, they were just starting talks about doing something for this show and I’ve been eager to see what they came up with. Because I’ve worked on enough campaigns like this, I know that there will be a lot more happenings down the road and I can’t wait to see what they came up with this time. Plus the letter hints that this is “the first link in the chain…”
So, since I don’t know anything about this show (it is based on the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” which I haven’t read), I’m hoping that fans of the books can help me figure out what I’m suppose to do with this box.
As you can see in the set of photos I took, it is an old wooden box. Inside were six different glass vials that each contained a different scent. There were also several scrolls, a map and two glass vials with location names on them that matched locations on the map. Finally there were some smelling sticks and little brass funnels that could be used to pour the oils into the glass location vials.
The kids and I had a blast going through this looking at everything, smelling everything and finally looking to see if there were any trap doors or hidden inscriptions anywhere on the box. We were a bit bummed that there was not. But, the box did leave me hungry with a sudden craving for warm bread and pear brandy. (two of my scents)
After reading the letter from HBO and reading through the scrolls I did discover what looks like a holding page for something that is coming at TheMaestersPath.com. I didn’t know what a Maester was, but they kept talking about them in the box and a quick search lead me to this definition.
What has me very curious is that I noticed some other friends like J.C. Hutchins and Violet Blue also got these scent boxes. A quick look at their photos and videos shows me that we didn’t all get the same scents or location vials. I wonder if any of the fan sites out there can make sense of all of them and help us find out what other sort of online or offline goodies might be coming down the pike.
What works about this outreach is that it turned me from having a casual interest in the show to now being hyper curious what it is all about. According to the scrolls in the box and what I’ve now read online it is almost as if smells work as a sort of teleportation? Can someone who has read the books tell me why smells are so important and if this thought is even close to right? Just don’t spoil the plot of the books please because I want to watch the show not knowing what is going to happen.
This is a very well done outreach. In my book Content Rules, one of our rules is “do something unexpected” and an old wooden treasure chest full of scents certainly does just that!
Although, I may just be starting out on The Maester’s Path, I’m very curious where it is going to lead me. Especially since everything I’ve now read warns me that Winter Is Coming…