Westworld: Media Strategy


  1. HBO launched a mass-awareness, multi-platform campaign designed to make Westworld the can’t-miss television event of the fall—media played a crucial role in fans discovering and becoming immersed in the world of the series. The audience-first paid media digital/social media spend totaled 5x that of any prior campaign and drove more social buzz than any first season onHBO, serving over 211M impressions to a highly targeted audience at an efficient cost. Focused buys around key trailers and promos helped generate over 56.2M views across Google and Facebook from pre-premiere through the show finale. By the end of its first season, Westworld became the most watched first season in HBO history.
  2. HBO worked with Merkle to leverage two “streams” throughout the 4-phase campaign flight to drive relevant audiences to complete trailer views as a proxy for tune-in as well as encourage a very niche audience of hand-raisers to engage with the in-story experience.Stream 1 targeted Westworld core audience segments (quality entertainment fans, sci-fi fans, tech enthusiasts)while Stream 2 began with the1% (income/wealth wise + AI and sci-fi superfans) in phase 1 (long lead, pre-premiere) and then expanded to include audiences from Stream 1 in phases 2-3.
  3. The goal of the long-lead phase was to generate massive reach to garner audiences from the trailer drop and reach the “niche” highly affluent and core AI fan audiences by using custom, high impact creative across one percenter sites such as Quartz, FT to invite users to “begin planning their trip” by taking a personality quiz on DiscoverWestworld.com.
  4. Quartz, How To Spend It, FT Screenshots:
  5. Pre-premiere, HBO continued to engage Phase 1 audiences on social channels to generate ongoing conversation and buzz. Additionally, standard display, video and paid search assets to encourage views and excitement.
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  7. For premiere week, HBO worked with Merkle to leverage unique creative formats including Google bumper ads, a custom Google rich media unit containing the chatbot “Aeden” from the series’ website and Facebook canvas ads to generate high engagement leading up to premiere. The Google chatbot unit saw 190K expansions with nearly 70% viewability and Facebook canvas ads saw 120K impressions with an average 24-second view duration.
  8. Chat Bot Rich Media Unit:
  9. YouTube Bumper Ads:
  10. WW 6sec Bumper CUT6 MAN IN BLACK V4 ALT ONLINE
  11. WW 6sec Bumper CUT2 DOLORES V5 ALT ONLINE
  12. WW 6sec Bumper CUT5 DR FORD V4 ALT ONLINE
  13. WW 6sec Bumper CUT1 MAEVE V4 ALT ONLINE
  14. The final phase was ongoing fan engagement, focusing on expanding past audiences and generating incremental reach. HBO identified premiere hand-raisers, and Game of Thrones fanatics to encourage them to spread the word about Westworld. To keep the series top of mind, HBO also ran buys during critical moments including catch-up support around Episodes 2, 6, 10 and post-finale.
  15. Episode 2 Tech Creative:
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  17. To foster high viewership and generate excitement around the 90-minute finale, the final push focused on driving catch-up and binge messaging to prior phase digital engagersFriday through Sunday. Finale weekend alone saw 17M views and drew 2.2M+viewers the night of and a massive 3.6M viewers in total—the highest finale tally for any Season 1 show in HBO history!
  18. Finale Critics Spot:
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