The ironic success of that Starbucks ‘Thrones’ cameo

There’s really no need to catch you up to speed, because the whole world already knows: a Starbucks cup made a very accidental appearance in last week’s Game of Thrones, and the entire internet lost its mind.

The only thing truly “lost,” however, was the almost literal boatload of money HBO could have charged Starbucks for the advertising.

According to CNBC, the mistake generated an estimated $2.3 billion in free advertising for Starbucks.

The news service says there were “10,627 mentions of Starbucks and ‘Game of Thrones’ online and on TV and radio around the world,” while the number of mentions in social media came in at around 193,000 — all within 48 hours.

Here’s the kicker, though: that famous, pesky, stupidly valuable little cup? It’s not even Starbucks.

As Wires notes, a Thrones art director confirmed it’s a “a generic craft services cup”; in other words, something the cast and crew got from the lunch line for free.

So ubiquitous is Starbucks — so synonymous with coffee — that fans automatically assumed the out-of-place item belonged to the Seattle chain.

Again from CNBC: “The fact that so many people associated the cup with Starbucks is a testament to the strength of the coffee shop’s brand.”

Not that the company just sat on its laurels, though.

The next day, after HBO tweeted a statement joking that Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea and not a latte, Starbucks shot back:

TBH we’re surprised she didn’t order a Dragon Drink.— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) May 6, 2019

The day after, they went one better, tweeting an ad for a frosty dragonfruit (get it?) concoction:

To be sure, you’ve got to respect the power of the Starbucks brand here, but even more impressive is how they refused to let an opportunity pass them by.

We’d confidently wager that the entire company is bending the knee to their social media manager right about now.

No doubt you’re wondering how you can level up your brand to the same sort of legendary status. While we can’t promise advertising opportunities in the Seven Kingdoms, we can promise some eye-opening conversation and a few next steps to start your conquest.

So send us a raven, and one of our maesters will quickly get back to you for a FREE consultation.

Declan Desmond