The Assignment:

Create an ongoing cultural conversation around the return of Westworld on HBO in the months before premiere.

The Strategy:

Extend the narrative with a 360º campaign that built mainstream buzz by engaging the press and superfans.



Background

Westworld Season One was HBO’s highest-rated new series of all time. But if it wanted to become a mainstream hit that could replace Game of Thrones in the zeitgeist, it needed to expand its audience. 

As creative lead, I concepted, developed, and helped deploy a strategic in-world narrative that used digital, social, experiential, out of home, and real world engagements to turn fans into evangelists and make Westworld HBO’s next must-see show.

Development

Season One ended with the robotic hosts rebelling against their human creators to take control of Westworld. For Season Two, we had a thought. What if they weren’t just taking over the park, but all communications — including the marketing campaign itself?

Once the client signed off, we got to work crafting the campaign. I led the development of a meta-narrative that spanned multiple platforms and campaign elements to continually reward fans from pre-season to in-season—including an evolving system of codes which we used to hide messages in plain sight.


Enter the Maze

The campaign launched two months before series premiere in a Super Bowl teaser trailer — HBO’s first Super Bowl spot in 20 years. One frame in the spot contained a binary code, which translated to an IP address. That address led to delosdestinations.com, a new website filled with Easter eggs and clues about the upcoming season.  

The hunt was on. Working together, fans found and broke codes that led to even more coded messages. Cast members soon tweeted out a series of words that, when put together, unlocked further Easter eggs. The robotic hosts took over websites, broadcasting their anti-corporate message to the world. I oversaw the narrative development to ensure a cohesive vision that would hook fans and keep them engaged beyond launch.



Awards

  • Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media
  • Shortlisted for Cannes Lion

Results

  • 1.6MM website page views for DelosDestinations.com
  • 18MM views of the digital trailer — #1 on YouTube
  • 330K social conversations around Westworld at premiere