That Infamous Coffee Cup in ‘Game of Thrones’ Gave Starbucks Billions of Free Advertising

Above: Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen beside the cup in-question
Above: Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen beside the cup in-question

Well, it goes without saying that almost all of us are still reeling from last night’s wild episode of Game of Thrones. The penultimate edition of HBO’s epic fantasy drama definitely turned heads and *clears throat* burned us a little, that’s for sure. For those who have yet to watch Sunday’s intense offering, we’ll do you a favour now and avoid the many, many spoilers here… even though, come on, it’s all we really want to talk about.

Instead, let’s revisit a sequence from earlier this season. In last week’s “Last of the Starks”, some eagle-eyed fans noticed a modern coffee cup lurking on the table during the cheerful feast sequence at Winterfell (see above). Very quickly, after the mistake hit screens, social media was flooded with screenshots of the hot java with many viewers claiming it to be a grande Starbucks vessel.

For the record, Game of Thrones actors have deflected the blame, and have pointed fingers elsewhere — perhaps the Red Witch’s last spell was to order Dany a flat white, who knows? In reality, it seems as though someone on set that day needed a coffee, because they were asleep at the wheel and left the cup untouched as cameras were rolling.

Regardless of who is to blame, one thing that isn’t a secret is that the gaffe has given Starbucks an insane amount of free advertising. In fact, according to a new report from CNBC, Game of Thrones provided the equivalent of $2.3 billion USD in marketing.

Speaking to the media outlet, CEO of Hollywood Branded, Stacy Jones, said it was an incredible moment for the Starbucks brand. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime collision of opportunity for Starbucks,” she said. “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.”

As of last Tuesday, the cup has been digitally edited out of the episode. So those hoping to rewatch the now infamous goof are sadly out of luck. But why would you be watching last week’s episode after what went down yesterday? Can we talk about that now?

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