Media brands seem to be ramping down their presence at Austin’s annual two-week SXSW festival, but that didn’t stop a few of them from going big on weekend one.
Ahead of the much-anticipated premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones, HBO again partnered with experiential agency Giant Spoon. The activation not only allowed attendees to dive into the world of Westeros, it also invited them to give blood in “Bleed for the Throne,” a twist on the show’s “For the Throne” tagline. Game of Thrones returns for its eighth and final season on Sunday, April 14.
Over the weekend, the American Red Cross collected between 400 and 500 units of blood via the activation, according to The Drum. And the partnership isn’t only taking place at SXSW — it’s also happened across 43 states in the past two months, resulting in some tens of thousands of donations.
HBO also teamed with Snap to add augmented reality to the “Bleed for the Throne” experience, such as adding blood spatters to the banners outside when observed through a Snap filter and fire to a map inside the event.
Likewise, Viceland used its brand power for good, although it’s version of “good” was more of the party kind. The millennial-focused brand leaned into this year’s non-official theme of ‘80s hip-hop nostalgia and turned downtown Austin into a pop-up roller-skating rink, complete with happy-hour cocktails (what’s an activation at SXSW without cocktails?), cotton candy, swag and Vice’s branded party bus.
Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video celebrated the impending apocalypse in advance of its new series Good Omens, starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant as an angel and a demon. The streamer took over a 19,000-square-foot space to host “Good Omens’ Garden of Earthly Delights,” which was created by CSM North America. Inside, visitors can grab beers, bites and maybe even a hellhound—aka puppy—courtesy of the Austin Animal Center. Good Omens, based on a novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, debuts May 31 on Amazon Prime.