How HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ Stunts Had Fans (and Press) Doing a Double Take

HBO House of the Dragon Season 2 Stunts_wall street

Even the New York Stock Exchange wasn’t exempt from HBO’s takeover.

Team Green banners hanging from the Eiffel Tower? Rockefeller Center declaring for Team Black? Was this for real? Kind of. Ahead of the highly anticipated season two premiere of “House of the Dragon” on June 16, HBO launched a global campaign that had fans, and famous landmarks, choosing a side in the House Targaryen drama.

For those unfamiliar, the series takes place 200 years before “Game of Thrones,” and “House of the Dragon’s” new season picks up with two sides of the Targaryen family feuding over the Iron Throne, split into factions of “Green” (for King Aegon II) and “Black” (for Queen Rhaenyra).

The marketing campaign started back in March with the release of the Official Green and Official Black Trailers on Max’s YouTube channel that had fans choosing a side with their views. That initial spark of division paved the way for HBO’s takeover of several hot spots in New York City last month.

Team Black banners with House Targaryen’s three-headed red dragon sigil hung prominently on the exterior of Rockefeller Center, Citi Field and the New York Stock Exchange, while Grand Central Terminal pledged its loyalty to the “One True King” with green banners sporting a gold dragon sigil. The banners were hanging at the locations for a limited time, but that was just the tip of the iceberg, as HBO extended the viral campaign to landmarks around the world with a bit of CGI.

Local businesses got in on the action, crafting menu items inspired by “HOTD” characters.

Videos started popping up on social media of digital banners spotted at KIPCO Tower in Kuwait (Team Black), Marina Bay Sands in Singapore (Team Black), Sydney Tower in Australia (Team Green) and the Eiffel Tower (Team Green). Comment sections were set ablaze as fans expressed their excitement or disappointment in the landmarks’ allegiances. As realistic as the banners looked rolling down the sides of the buildings, users questioned their authenticity.

For instance, in New York, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges were both shown with banners raised, and with other locations in the city displaying real banners, fans online were questioning what was really happening on the ground. The Associated Press sent a reporter out to confirm that the banners on the bridges were not present and that they were, in fact, part of a social media stunt. (Even we were duped into believing they were real.)

But the biggest and most impressive aspect of the “House of the Dragon” campaign came in the form of a 270-foot dragon coiled around the mast of the Empire State Building. New Yorkers were doing a double take as they looked up at an inflatable Vhagar the Dragon made up of 1,700 pattern pieces and more than 600,000 sewn stitches.

In addition to light shows that rotated in 30-minute intervals behind the dragon, Team Green’s takeover of the skyscraper also included a life-size Iron Throne on the Grand Staircase, a preview of Zynga’s “Game of Thrones: Legends” mobile game, an interactive photo booth and a Tipsy Scoop pop-up that offered a booze-infused dragon fruit sorbet. The residency came to an end on June 19, but not before a visit from Team Green cast members.

Also getting in on the clash of houses were local NYC businesses, which from June 10-16 hung banners and signs of their own and crafted specialty menu items, like the Bacon, Aegon and Cheese bagel at Leon’s Bagels and Vhagar’s Pie in a “House of the Dragon”-themed pizza box at John’s of Bleecker Street.

Full disclosure: We’re rooting for Team Black and the One True Queen. Here’s to a fiery season; it’s just getting started. Partners: Giant Spoon, experiential; Jepol Industrial Rope Access, dragon installation.


More Scenes from the “House of the Dragon” Stunts:

Photo credit: Giant Spoon

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