Joffrey Baratheon, how do we hate thee? Let us count the ways. That's exactly what HBO and agency 360i are counting on "Game of Thrones" fans to do with the launch of a new campaign that aims to put the series' despicable young villain in his place. Billed as the first ever "internet roast," the social-media campaign launched at 8 a.m. today. HBO hopes it will become the hub for those wanting to spew venom at the show's creepy young king, who, according to to data culled by 360i, is the most-hated villain on social media.
According to Sabrina Caluori, VP-digital and social media at HBO, last year's "Red Wedding" episode, which featured the over-the-top bloody deaths of some of the show's most beloved characters, inspired this effort. It was HBO's most-social show ever, with the highest volume of Twitter conversation of any of the network's programs, she said. "That really cemented 'Game of Thrones' in the cultural zeitgeist, so we were looking for ways to engage fans in the off-season. We tasked 360i to think of unique ways that weren't tied to the plotline that could continue to make noise with our fans."
Everyone hates Joffrey
Working off that basic brief, 360i jumped on a bit of insight it found about 'Game of Thrones' fans: that although their loyalties may diverge, if there's one thing they agree on, it's their hatred of Joffrey. In fact, according to data pulled from the Sysomos Map Social Listening Tool, the agency and HBO found that Joffrey is the most-reviled character on social media. Over a period of almost a year, "if you tie the word 'hate' to a character, you can find 30,000 mentions of Joffrey's name," said Ms. Caluori. Joffrey's association with "hate" is 3.5 times higher than any other TV character, outranking Walter White from "Breaking Bad," who came in second.
The agency decided then, what better way to celebrate such a villified character than with what it bills as the first-ever internet roast. "We thought about what we could do that would put fans at the core of partcipation -- with this idea, we immediately knew we had something," said 360i Chief Creative Officer Adam Kerj. "There are so many hardcore fans, there's social spread built into the idea."