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Listen: How Do You Market the Massive Final Season of ‘Game of Thrones’?

When a TV show like “Game of Thrones” can boast 33 million viewers each week, does marketing become besides the point, especially when the upcoming final season is sure to take the audience to new heights?

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“We could probably do absolutely nothing and shatter every ratings record in the book,” said Chris Spadaccini, executive VP and president of marketing at HBO, on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” “I think one tweet with ‘April 14th’ would probably do it. At the same time, we feel an enormous responsibility to commemorate what is arguably one of the greatest TV shows ever made, that has cemented its place in popular culture.”

In an interview recorded last month at the 2019 Variety Entertainment Marketing Summit, Spadaccini walked through his ambitious game plan for sending off HBO’s flagship series in high style. Marketing for the drama series has already led to watercooler moments both intentional, like its Super Bowl marketing partnership with Bud Light, and unintentional, such as when President Trump decided to borrow “Thrones” iconography for one of his ubiquitous tweets.

But it’s all worth it, according to Spadaccini, who sees “Thrones” as something of a throwback in an era when on-demand viewing is fragmenting the audience like never before.

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“It really is one of the last remaining mono-cultural events where I get the feeling the world will be watching in real time because they don’t want to be left out,” he observed. “In that respect, it’s more akin to a World Cup than just a TV show.”

Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler, Discovery CEO David Zaslav, and TV star Tyra Banks. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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