- DiscoverWestworld.com is the heart of HBO’s compelling digital campaign for Westworld, designed to build upon the mythology of the series, break key assets and stoke fan conversation. By the end of Season 1, the site generated over 1.7M visits and Westworld became the most watched first season in HBO history.
- HBO partnered with Westworld showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who made digital storytelling a priority in their creative process. The result was a full extension of the narrative beyond the TV screen into the digital space. The in-world campaign was comprised of many elements, including a chatbot, rich media units and an email newsletter, which were centered around and synthesized through DiscoverWestworld.com.
- Built as a luxury travel destination site, DiscoverWestworld.com showcases the park itself—idyllic at first glance, but with a dark side waiting to be discovered just under the surface. Complete with enticing descriptions of the park and its offerings, the site feels real, luxurious and exclusive, and serves as an introduction to the plot, characters and themes of the show. Exclusive “access codes” seeded via in-story ads on luxury websites and at the VR activation at Tech Crunch Disrupt helped drive discovery.
- The site was a crucial vehicle in breaking marketing assets—key art, trailers, promos—to fans before wide release on linear and other digital platforms. Fans who were early subscribers to the site found Easter eggs hidden in everything from in-story emails from Westworld’s parent company Delos to the site’s source code. Key pieces of content included the first full-length trailer (that generated over 8M views in 48 hours,) key art and even an advanced release of the second episode.
- DiscoverWestworld.com continued to grow and morph as the marketing campaign and series unfolded. The site has several levels, encouraging passionate fans to spend time digging through the site for hints and exclusive knowledge. The site itself “glitched” in the style of Westworld’s hosts (hit SHIFT or the Westworld logo for glitch videos). Diving even further into the mythology, a corporate “intranet” site waited for fans to find a plethora of Easter eggs including: “email threads” that teased an upcoming plot points and characters; secret links in the HTML code; and corporate documents explaining the world of Delos (including a very popular in-story terms of service).
- Discover Westworld’s resident concierge bot “Aeden,” (powered by Google) generated over 1M interactions. Aeden further brought the AI from the series to life and offered an alluring window into the world. Pre-premiere, fans were also invited to take a personality assessment that gave them their Westworld archetype to help them build their own trip itinerary; once completed, Aeden greeted the “future guests” and helped them plan their trip. Aeden grew smarter as the series went on, evolving week over week as HBO monitored fan sentiment, theories and inquiries, programing Aeden with provocative answers and fanning the flames of fan conversation. After finale, Aeden emerged into a new “awoken phase”. Mashable, Digital Trends and other tech publications consistently wrote about the site, while super-fans tried to hack the chatbot and dissected his Easter eggs.
- Additional in-season site enhancements enticed fans to come back on a weekly basis with new, episodic-focused content. Every week, a new Delos corporate resource, message thread, or Easter egg was posted to Delos Intranet site including maps and “host narratives.” Fans who’ve signed up on the site also received a weekly in-story newsletter, serving all of the Westworld content including chatbot updates, Delos updates and behind-the-scenes videos.
- After finale, HBO converted the weekly newsletter to a “10-day trip guide,” so that bingewatchers had access to the same episodic content that was released in-season. The result was a fully evolved, immersive campaign that powered Westworld to become HBO’s most successful series launch to date.