Game of Thrones is back. Back in a huge way. Dragons, Khaleesi, new characters and new problems. But what did HBO do over the break to keep us entertained? Well, in America at least they posted out a thing being called the Influencer Box.
That one just there got sent to Anna Kendrick. Lucky gal. But why? As Myles McNutt notes in his post “A Box of Influence: Game of Thrones and Cultural Capital” on March 22nd, 8 days before the return of the series, “HBO is effectively spending thousands of dollars to send rich celebrities personalized gifts to promote a show that is already wildly successful and likely to run for many seasons”. Thus it seems silly as McNutt also notes, fans are beginning to question why a “celebrity’s” fandom is valued more highly than their own.
He goes on to suggests the reason lies in a lack of understanding. That is, a lack in comprehension of the real effect social media can have and thus and emphasis on brand building and immersion. To quote, “The Influencer Box was not simply designed to promote the process of watching Game of Thrones, but rather to promote the idea of engaging with Game of Thrones as though it were a part of your life.” (McNutt, 2013)
And here we begin to see a trend emerging quite rapidly in the media sphere. That of complete infiltration into our very being and interactivity.
Take Zeebox, Fango, The Walking Dead Story Sync or the True Blood Beverage, companies are attempting to capitalise on our ability to become engaged in drastic ways, and our tendency to interact with life across a multitude of screens and experiences.
So where does this leave the viewer? Will we begin to see parts of the TV show dispersed onto other mediums in order for a Transmedial presentation to be engaged? Will we cease to be able to simply watch a TV show or movie without feeling obliged to tweet about it with our House Sigil display picture only to proceed to rage multiple keyboard wars with other fanatics?
An initiative such as this one is a perfect example of the ‘more individualized TV culture within the household’ (Lee, 2010) that Lee acknowledges now exists.
McNutt, Myles 2013, ‘A Box of Influence: Game of Thrones and Cultural Capital’, Cultural Learnings, Blog. viewed 23rd March 2013.
Lee, L.F Francie 2010, ‘The influence of family viewing preferences on television consumption in the era of multichannel services’, Asian Journal Of Communication, 20, 3, pp. 281-298, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 16 April 2013.