Game of Thrones Doors Crowned King at Cannes

Tourism Ireland slays the competition at the 'advertising Oscars' with campaign carving Dark Hedges trees into scenes from the show

Tourism Ireland have won two awards at the 'Oscars of the advertising and marketing world' for last year's campaign which saw fallen trees from The Dark Hedges transformed into wooden doors depicting season six of Game of Thrones.

The doors, which hang in pubs and other venues around Northern Ireland, were recognised earlier this week with Gold and Silver Lions at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. For the Gold Lion, campaigns by Nike, Microsoft and Heineken were amongst those which lost out to Tourism Ireland in the 'Outdoor – Special Build' category. The Silver, meanwhile, was for 'Use of Ambient Outdoor'.

Festival organisers announced this week that a total of 41,170 entries had been received for the accolades across 24 different categories. It follows over 30 awards and accolades the 'Doors of Thrones' campaign has racked up to date from the marketing and advertising industry across Europe and the United States.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: 'Winning a Cannes Lion is the ultimate industry accolade, so we’re really proud that our ‘Doors of Thrones’ campaign has been singled out for not one, but two, awards at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. The international tourism marketplace is an extremely competitive one and we are constantly looking at innovative and engaging ways to reach potential holidaymakers, so we are particularly honoured to receive these awards.

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'Tourism Ireland has been working hard to build awareness of Northern Ireland around the world and we were really pleased to continue our partnership with HBO last year, to highlight the beautiful landscape of Northern Ireland – through the exciting events of Game of Thrones – on the global stage.'

It was in January 2016 when The Dark Hedges – the popular County Antrim location used as The Kingsroad in the HBO series - was hit hard by Storm Gertrude. Tourism Ireland used wood from the stricken trees to craft doors revealed over ten weeks as episodes aired on television. Featuring intricate plot points and mythology from the show, the doors created a brand new trail for fans to follow, taking them to areas within reach of filming locations while allowing them to explore lesser known treasures across the country.

The ‘Doors of Thrones’ campaign reached an estimated 126 million people around the world, with the campaign’s short films being viewed 17 million times – generating coverage worth about £11.3 million.

Next month, Tourism Ireland will join forces once again with HBO, with a brand new Game of Thrones campaign to promote Northern Ireland around the world, timed to coincide with the season seven (set to premiere in mid-July). Read more about Northern Ireland as Game of Thrones territory in our interview with location scout Robert Boake.