OK, so that wasn’t the trailer for the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” during Super Bowl LIII — but it was a “Game of Thrones”-themed ad for Bud Light featuring a “GoT” character and directed in part by David Nutter, the man who shot the “Red Wedding” and directed half of the series’ upcoming final six episodes. Oh, and there is a dragon.
Titled “Joust,” the 60-second spot starring The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) and The Bud Knight, which aired during the second quarter of the game, delivered “a quintessential ‘Game of Thrones’-twist ending to the latest entry in Bud Light’s series of ‘Dilly Dilly’ commercials,” according to HBO press materials.
If you are looking for more information about that ad — because, you know, you don’t have a trailer to watch yet — we’ve got you covered.
What starts as a classic Bud Light Super Bowl commercial featuring the King and Bud Knight descends into chaos when the menacing “Game of Thrones” character the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) makes a surprise appearance, defeating the defender of the ‘Dilly Dilly’ kingdom in a jousting contest.
Building on the latest chapter of the medieval “Dilly Dilly” series, Bud Light’s agency, Wieden+Kennedy, collaborated with HBO and Droga5 on the 60-second spot, “Joust.” Production on the ad reunited more than 25 people from the “Game of Thrones” crew under the direction of David Nutter, the man who orchestrated the infamous “The Red Wedding” episode among others, and the collaboration of showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The first half of the spot was under the direction of Bud Light’s Spencer Riviera, who previously directed creative within the Bud Light medieval universe.
To kick off the next phase of its #ForTheThrone campaign, which asks fans, celebs and brands what they would do #ForTheThrone in celebration of the series’ final season (debuting April 14), HBO was looking for a stage and brand partner that could stand up to the powerhouse the show has become. Bud Light, known for delivering iconic Super Bowl commercials, was the top choice and jumped on board immediately.
The reveal of the Super Bowl commercial was intentionally left to in-game to maximize the surprise for fans and viewers alike. Simultaneously an extended version was revealed online, with additional Easter eggs for fans of the show to enjoy.
“Directing this epic jousting match in Spain was the perfect capper to my ‘Game of Thrones’ experience,” Nutter said in a statement. “Bud Light, the Mountain, and a dragon — a holy trinity of epic-ness! ‘Dilly, dilly’ indeed!”
“‘Game of Thrones’ is a shared cultural experience for millions of fans around the world,” Chris Spadaccini, HBO head of marketing, added. “So, to kick off the final season campaign, there was no better platform than television’s biggest stage, the Super Bowl. Given the high stakes, we needed to create an unforgettable moment that would spark a ton of conversation. We were looking for a brand partner that would be willing to make a bold sacrifice ‘for the throne,’ and we were thrilled when Bud Light answered the call. Together, we created a very meta campaign with a Thrones-worthy twist that is sure to delight fans of both brands.”
Though we’ve yet to get an official Season 8 trailer — even though the “GoT” creators promise one is coming — a couple glimpses of the final six episodes have been doled out in teeny, tiny chunks over the last few months in HBO “sneak peek” promos, compilations previewing multiple new and returning series.
The first came in August and showed a single quick shot of Sansa and Jon embracing, and the second aired during the Golden Globes earlier this month. That latter tease showed what fans assumed is more from the previous scene, with Sansa handing Winterfell over to Daenerys in their very first meeting — and not looking too happy about it.
Watch the extended ad above and the version that aired during the game below.
The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” will premiere Sunday, April 14 at 9/8c on HBO.