HBO is using experiential marketing to promote all eight Harry Potter films streaming on its network with the “Hogwarts House Challenges” in Boston, Denver and Atlanta throughout the second half of January.
HBO commissioned Wink Back to create an interactive challenge for fans. The company specializes in team-building games and is also behind The Go Game. The intention behind these team-building exercises is to inspire a stronger workforce through play and common goals. By engaging Harry Potter fans with a similar formula, HBO is effectively training an “external marketing team” that will share their experiences—and details about how the films are streaming—to other fans.
Those who attend the Hogwarts House Challenges, for example, will take part in an original Harry Potter-themed game that includes a mix of trivia, puzzles and video challenges. Prizes will also be awarded for best costume and best team photo. Teams will receive extra points each time they share photos of the event on social media, using the hashtag #HarryPotterHBO.
Original movie props will also be on-site for viewing, including:
- Tom Riddle’s diary with Basilisk fang
- Lucius Malfoy’s “Caught” poster
- Horace Slughorn’s hourglass
- Bellatrix Lestrange’s dagger
- “Magical Drafts and Potions” textbook
A limited number of tickets are available through HBO’s Facebook page. Atlanta, Boston and Denver were chosen for their “particularly devoted fan base” and proximity to area colleges, according to the network.
Supporting its team-building campaign, the HBO website has devoted a section to the Harry Potter film franchise, complete with hand-written pages that outline charms, spells and the care of magical creatures; Happy Potter composer Ramin Djawadi will lead a concert series and begin touring later this year; and a 10,000-square-foot interactive museum debuted in Barcelona, with future locations to be announced at a later date.
HBO has previously used experiential marketing to promote its other programming—especially Game of Thrones. For the show’s seventh season, Deliveroo UK opened a Game of Thrones-inspired pop-up bakery called “You Know Nothing, Jon Dough.” Actor Ben Hawkey, who plays Hot Pie on the show, served real-life versions of his character’s “direwolf bread.”