HBO is using Google Maps in a clever way to promote the the Sopranos series, which starts a new season soon. At Behind the Scenes: Sopranos Maps, you’ll find locations annotated with videos, photos and episode details from Season 5. (The image here is at Shea Stadium in Queens, NY, and of course that’s the Tony Soprano character in the still-image photo from a video. You can click on the map for a larger version in a popup window.)
This is a clever gimmick by HBO, the producers and an online video-advertising company called Kilpmart, which is helping create the buzz. And it’s yet another way people are using Google Maps to help create new kinds of online content.
HBO could make this even better, by making it more interactive. The Sopranos program already has discussion boards, but the map mashup should have viewer participation as well.
I’d let people add their own commentary directly to the maps (if this could be done in a way that didn’t get out of control). Even better would be a Sopranos “Treasure Hunt” where fans could solve a larger puzzle, maybe for prizes.
Still, this is a smart approach to marketing, even though the Sopranos hardly needs all that much more buzz given its already high quality and huge audience. It’s also a view into how buzz can be fueled online, and, no doubt, it’s just a hint at what’s yet to come.