Five Ways Prime Video’s ‘Rings of Power’ Global Tour Helped Drive Record-breaking Viewership

Red-carpet premiere events are a dime a dozen. So when Prime Video set out to produce a buzz-generating campaign that matched the scale and scope of its original series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” reimagining the standard premiere in a way that captured the show’s grandeur was critical. And after a year of planning, from RFP to execution, the brand delivered. A lineup of multisensory red-carpet experiences, press junkets and consumer events were activated in Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai and London in early fall 2022 to captivate cast members, executives, influencers, press and fans on a global stage, as well as ramp up viewership ahead of the debut of the most expensive TV series ever made.

The experiential program offered more evidence that in-world immersions and superfan events are back with a vengeance. So we spoke to Courtney Brown, head of global publicity and talent relations, and Em Porter, events principal, both of whom helmed the campaign for Prime Video/Amazon Studios. Read on for details on how the global tour came together and how it helped inspire more than 100 million global viewers to tune in to season one, officially taking the throne as Prime Video’s top original series in the 240 countries and territories in which it’s available. (Agency: AGENC, creative, production, fabrication)

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Otherworldly Experience Design

“The Rings of Power,” an offshoot of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic trilogy, takes place in Middle Earth long before that ring of power was the center of a treacherous treasure hunt. But the setting is much the same, from the majestic rolling hills found throughout the five realms in the series, to the elves, dwarves and other mythical creatures that inhabit them. And the brand went all-in to bring the environment to life, and we mean all-in.

Prime Video’s stop in London, home of Tolkien, served as the campaign finale and was the pièce de résistance of its intricate experience design strategy. Taking over Leicester Square, Prime built a 2,000-foot-long circular red carpet and erected a handmade, 40-foot-tall installation representing the five realms from the series. Plants, grass, moss, vines and 100 large-scale trees all peppered the multilevel footprint, which offered various vantage points (the greenery was repurposed or recycled after the event).

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Local artisans transformed the facade of Colegio Vizcainas with a branded, hand-carved hero entrance.

Another example: in Mexico City, 1,200 live plants were rented and placed on display at the historic Colegio Vizcainas, an 18th century Baroque landmark, the exterior of which local artisans transformed into a hero archway entrance bearing hand-carved iconography from the show, which mirrored the venue’s architecture.

“From a publicity perspective, the goal was to generate an abundance of positive headlines worldwide that drove buzz around the series and the cast,” says Brown. “To do that, we asked ourselves, ‘How can we be epic and premium, while still staying authentic and true to the world of Tolkien?’ Throughout all of the events of the campaign, it remained a balancing act to keep the rooms, red carpets, junkets and roadshows feeling warm, magical, intimate and highly crafted, while still being wildly ambitious.”


A Fresh Take on a Traditional Format

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More than 300 drones were choreographed to display series symbolism before dramatically wrapping with Prime’s logo.

The standard premiere event was redefined in all four tour cities, each of which included a winding or circular multilevel journey through Middle Earth and the five realms for talent, execs and showrunners to enjoy. This was no ordinary step-and-repeat; it was a full immersion that offered myriad surprise-and-delight touchpoints, all of which were anchored by a cohesive narrative that tied the tour together.

In L.A., for instance, Prime Video’s premiere and screening experience was followed by an after-party for VIPs and press. On their way to the soiree, attendees strolled down a walkway lined with black and white imagery of the cast encased in illuminated frames etched in “Elvish.” Then, their attention was directed to the skies, where more than 300 drones put on a show displaying symbolism from the series before dramatically wrapping with Prime Video’s logo. The experience even became a trending topic on Twitter.


Market-based Customization

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Talent made a grand entrance in Mumbai, arriving in a fleet of vibrant tuk-tuks.

“The Rings of Power” campaign was consistent in its design elements, objectives and overarching strategy, but the experiences also included local touches to reflect the market in which the brand was activating. Like in Mumbai, where talent arrived at the premiere on a fleet of tricked-out tuk-tuks (motorized rickshaws popular in India), while the after-party included a performance by Hindi rock project Ankur & The Ghalat Family. Or in Mexico City, where authentic Mexican food and beverages were served at the after-party, amid other local touches.

“In each city, the carpet experiences married local culture with the world of ‘The Rings of Power,’” says Porter. “In Los Angeles, we took the mixed metals featured in the series and used them to highlight Hollywood glamor—chainmail from the elves’ armor became glamorous curtains dressing our step-and-repeat and lighting towers.”


Fan-centric Events

Much of the campaign was devoted to engaging press and talent, but it was also a priority for Prime Video to create fan activations that gave consumers an up-close-and-personal experience with the series. As Brown puts it, “The campaign was designed from the very beginning to include a series of record-breaking, fan-centric and emotionally driven premieres and events.”

In L.A., fans were invited to partake in the red-carpet livestream experience, where they were positioned front and center of the interview stage and could see themselves beamed onto screens displaying the broadcast. They also had direct access to the talent, who mingled with them, signed posters and snapped photos.

And in London, a dedicated fan activation took place in Leicester Square, in partnership with the City of Westminster, a day prior to the premiere event. The experience, open to fans and consumers passing by, included a photo activation and a chance to win tickets to the following day’s red-carpet event. More than 1,000 people passed through, and 300 of them scored tickets.


Authentic Details

No stone went unturned for the production of Prime Video’s tour, which was essential to its success. With cast, crew and fans all watching, getting every last detail right was paramount. The brand didn’t just want attendees to see the experience, it wanted them to be fully immersed in it. Case in point: In London, customized lanterns representing the five realms illuminated the red carpet. Each featured different light sources: fire and coal for the Dwarves, the Harfoots’ fireflies, Númenor’s oil lamps, the Southlanders’ caged candles and Elven glow.

“It wasn’t enough for fans to just see Middle Earth; we wanted to transport them to Middle Earth so that they could fully experience it with all of their senses,” says Porter.

Go Inside the Global Tour:

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

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