HBO Crafted Amazing 'Personal Daemons' for the Biggest Fans of His Dark Materials

360i taps sculptor Kate MacDowell for clay figures

HBO did just about everything right in its 2019 marketing, and it closed out the year with a typically stunning fan engagement effort for His Dark Materials. 

As part of its promotion of the Season 1 finale on Dec. 23, the network sent 40 HDM superfans their very own "personal daemon," the show's version of a spirit animal that represents the physical manifestation of a human's soul. The remarkably crafted clay figurines were created by sculptor Kate MacDowell and packaged in beautifully carved wooden boxes that were inspired by the show's "aletheiometer," or symbol reader. 

360i spearheaded the campaign. It's the agency's latest impeccably crafted HBO project, following several eye-catching Game of Thrones campaigns last year, including the impressive title-sequence homage made with 2,750 Oreo cookies and the gorgeous "Create for the Throne" fan-art project. 

Check out some of the HDM "personal daemons" below: 

"Heading into the finale, we wanted to surprise and delight HDM superfans with their own one-of-a-kind personal daemons—a beloved part of the series' lore," says Emily Giannusa, vp of HBO program marketing. "We hope this serves as a great novelty for fans and will get them to recruit their friends to watch the beloved series over the holidays and help grow the fan army leading up to Season 2." 

MacDowell was the perfect collaborator. Her sculptures often feature animals, and they have a kind of mythic quality to them. 

"I've loved the world-building, moral complexity, and vivid characters from His Dark Materials since first reading the books many years ago," she says. "My work is often about a psychological, soul-deep connection between the human and animal world, so this project was a chance to adapt my signature skillset. I carved everything by hand from porcelain clay, rather than using molds, which gave me the ability to make each animal unique, with variations in positioning and personal touches that reveal itself during the actual sculpting. This has been a remarkable opportunity for me to bring 'personal daemons' to life." 

Needless to say, the fans who received the packages flipped out. Check out the entertaining unboxing below by Brandon Nance. 

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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