- HBO this week released an augmented reality (AR) app to immerse fans of the fantasy series "His Dark Materials" in a virtual world. The His Dark Materials: My Daemon app has a series of wellness activities and content inspired by the show, in which each character has an animal-like manifestation of their soul called a "daemon," per an announcement emailed to Mobile Marketer.
- When users first open the app, it asks them to complete a personality quiz to help determine the daemon's characteristics. The type of animal, skin, fur patterns and personality differ based on those answers. App users can tell their daemon how they feel to receive recommendations for personalized wellness activities, such as getting exercise or other kinds of self-care like having alone time, watching a movie or talking to a friend. Daily habits, hobbies and challenges are part of progressing through an in-app journey that improves the health and happiness of the daemon, per the announcement.
- In an effort to capitalize on surging wellness apps downloads this year, His Dark Materials: My Daemon is available for iOS devices, and has a companion app for the Apple Watch. Users can connect the app, which was created with Framestore, to Apple Health, Spotify or their favorite fitness, sleep and meditation apps. Season two of "His Dark Marterials" will premiere on HBO and streaming service HBO Max at 9 p.m. ET on Nov. 16.
HBO's His Dark Materials: My Daemon app is a novel way to engage fans with the show while also leveraging the surging popularity of fitness and wellness apps during the pandemic. By giving mobile users a way to create their own daemon who helps to inspire them to engage in activities, HBO can strengthen emotional ties with fans while also publicizing the "His Dark Materials" show as they share in-app content on social media.
As the pandemic began to exact an emotional toll on people who were worried about their health or the struggling economy, the 10 most popular English-language mental wellness apps saw a 25% jump in downloads to 10 million in April, up from 8 million in January, app researcher Sensor Tower estimated. Meditation app Calm was the No. 1 with 3.9 million downloads in April, followed by 1.5 million for Headspace and 1.4 million for Meditopia, the research showed. By integrating His Dark Materials: My Daemon with other platforms, HBO can help to boost engagement while also building on the popularity of wellness apps.
The rollout of the "His Dark Materials: My Daemon" app follows HBO's other experiential marketing efforts to engage fans of the show. To celebrate the finale of its first season last year, HBO sent personalized sculptures to 40 of its most dedicated fans, as determined by their social media presence. The network worked with a sculptor to craft porcelain miniatures of "personal daemons" that were hand-delivered in detailed wooden boxes inspired by the show. HBO developed the campaign to urge those fans to share the experience on social media and help to lift awareness.
Before the first season premiered, HBO last year unveiled branded AR lenses on Snapchat that let users of the image-messaging app interact with characters from the series. The AR lenses included a geolocated activation in Los Angeles, and several that let mobile users decorate their selfies and pictures with digital images based on the show.