As you’re probably aware, the breakout star of the current series of Game of Thrones is a coffee cup.
Not because some hunky barista with a great beard has appeared and is a dab hand at making the silkiest flat whites in all of Westeros. But because it was what appeared to be a present-day Starbucks cup in a scene.
HBO responded to the unintentional gaff, saying the drink was indeed a mistake, as Daenerys had ordered a herbal tea, not a latte.
However, the studio also confirmed they would be digitally editing out the offending cup from further airings of the episode.
While the cup may be gone, Starbucks’ ad revenue is well and truly here, as it’s been suggested the coffee giant earned an estimated $2.3billion in free advertising from the episode – despite it not even being a Starbucks cup.
— Game of Thrones Starbucks Cup (@GameStarbucks) May 6, 2019
Stacy Jones, CEO of marketing company Hollywood Branded, used PR subscription service Critical Mention to estimate the amount of advertising Starbucks would have gained. It tallied around 10,627 mentions of ‘Starbucks’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ online, in radio and around the world, CNBC reports.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime collision of opportunity for Starbucks. But really, this is just the tip of the iceberg, because what isn’t being monitored or estimated is the word of mouth and social media on top of this.
Talkwater, a social media analytics and monitoring site, reportedly counted over 193,000 mentions of ‘Starbucks’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ together within 48 hours of the show.
That Starbucks cup in Game of Thrones really broke the reality of a dragon-riding lady in love with a guy who came back from the dead.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) May 7, 2019
Meanwhile, Sophie Turner – who plays Sansa Stark – tried to pass off the blunder onto her co-star.
Check it out:
Dan Hill, CEO of Hill Impact, a strategic communications firm, said:
It’s impossible to put a real figure on how much free advertising Starbucks gets out of the situation, but it’s in a totally different category than product placement because it was accidental, which makes it more valuable.
I know people assign a value to these things, ‘more than $1 million in public relations,’ but I think it’s all hogwash — too hard to quantify. Plus this one will live on as a meme, so I guess you could say it’s a gift that will keep on giving.
And if there’s one thing we love more than coffee, it’s memes.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.