Due to the limitations in evaluating the return from traditional teaser campaigns, ads and print are being modernised and moved over to social.

Here, real-time communication is allowing brands to build momentum through organic social interaction by getting others involved in the conversation and the process of sharing.

As you will see in the examples below, some of the campaigns of the year couldn’t have happened without social media.

Here is how brands are teasing to please by doing storytelling a little bit differently…

Gif-ing way to excitement: HBO, Gifs and Game of Thrones 

On Twitter, where space is limited, brands like HBO are merging text with different forms of media, balancing communications with branded graphics and animated Gifs.

The best example is HBO’s new teaser campaign #DragonHunt, which was launched ahead of the season five premiere of Game of Thrones.

Fans were challenged to catch the Dragon from a ‘Dragon Bait Shop’, housed on Giphy (a search engine for Gifs).

To get access to special content or prizes, they were given glimpses of a dragon in posts which they had to retweet quickly before they disappeared. They were also encouraged to create their own bait.

HBO understands very well that for many of their fans, the premiere day has become a cultural event. By offering something unexpected and fun, HBO not only found a way to reward their audience for their devotion but also offered something creative they could become a part of.

Sounds simple, yet managing this real-time campaign required setting up a ‘war room’ of 15 to 20 staffers from HBO, 360i, and Giphy to manage Game of Thrones’s broad audience.

Creative campaigns like this one are the best examples of how to attract an audience. It’s not just the fame that helps Game of Thrones grow their social presence, but well executed campaigns like this one.


  • According to social analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, #GameofThrones generated 948,500 worldwide tweets on Sunday, the highest daily total in the show’s history.
  • 6m people saw a tweet about the show’s premiere.
  • The campaign brought 1.9m users to Facebook and helped the show’s Facebook page reach 10m fans
  • Brands like Arbys and Pringles also got involved in the hunt

Takeaways: What helped promote this campaign?

  • Flexibility and simplicity of the concept
  • Relevant hashtag: #DragonHunt easily explains the concept behind the campaign
  • Pro tip: “The rule is, if you can’t explain what the campaign is in a hashtag, it’s probably the wrong campaign.” HBO Digital and Social Media Director Jim Marsh

Merging social with offline: Coldplay’s ‘Ghost Stories’ 

The band have decided to reveal the lyrics for each song from #GhostStories by hiding them in ghost story books in libraries in nine countries.

Coldplay added a completely new angle to a teaser campaign by turning it into an international #lyricshunt scavenger hunt.

To add mystery, three weeks before their 6th album release, the band hid nine handwritten lyrics by singer Chris Martin, in nine libraries located across the globe (Mexico City, Helsinki, Barcelona, Singapore, New York, Dublin, Johannesburg, Kent and Tauranga).

‘Ghost Stories’ was firstly revealed on Coldplay’s Twitter with the intention to set Mexico City fans in search of the lyrics. Later on, more location hints and cryptic photos followed, encouraging fans to get involved and send in their photos from the hunt.

For more clues, fans were directed to the band’s website and Twitter, which were supposed to help them get closer to the main prize: a “golden ticket” offering a trip to London to see the band perform.

14,000 tweets with the hashtag #lyricshunt were generated just in the first day, the best proof of the excellence of this campaign.


  • Support the campaign with a simple, relevant yet unique hashtag
  • Don’t forget about meticulous planning
  • Use clues and cryptic messages

Building anticipation through one channel 

Instead of giving everything away, brands are smartly and strategically whetting their fans’ appetites with VIP content which is available only to them, exclusively on one channel.

Cadbury, for instance, introduced their new chocolate bar on Google+, while Dior debuted their new #IconicColors makeup line on Twitter.

In these instances, both brands place exclusivity on one channel, but later expanded it across other networks, like Facebook and YouTube.

Fashion brands like Oscar de la Renta or Donna Karan prefer to create buzz around their new collections on Instagram. As a response to consumer shift, retailers are changing their tactics while mixing old promotion formats with social media.

Even so, Instagram’s links are inactive, the latest trend shows that fashion brands tend to use social media to release news, inform about future magazine highlights, or even to encourage pre-orders, while ads and magazine covers follow up second.

Why is it important to keep followers excited? 

Social media provides unique opportunities to businesses launching new products or services, as they allow the messages to be tailored and personalised.

Social media teasers can keep consumers engaged and interested in the brand offering before, during and after their launch.

Here are some final tips and suggestions to inspire your future teaser or countdown activities:  

  • For full impact merge both owned and paid media.
  • Tailor your message to the social platform and its users.
  • Make prizes personal and valuable to your followers.
  • Don’t over complicate the campaign, keep it simple and easy to follow.
  • Collaborate with influencers to help you in promotion.