Brands drop millions of dollars for the chance to associate with big name shows. Product placements make money for TV studios and increase revenue for products as well. But no one expected a period piece like Game of Thrones to make billions for the very contemporary coffee company Starbucks.
The wildest thing about the unintentional product placement that earned the multinational coffee chain so much extra revenue? It was not even a Starbucks cup after all.
‘Game of Thrones’ originated during the Middle Ages
The events on Game of Thrones takes place in the fictional environment of Westeros for a time before modern technology. The whole world, however, consists of the book’s author George RR Martin admitting that he was influenced by medieval England. He included references to The Roses of the Roses, which appeared in the late 15th century.
Regardless of the exact time frame, it’s undeniable that any character from the award-winning HBO series would never drink vanilla latte from Starbucks. That was what made it so shocking when a famous paper cup appeared during an episode.
Fans were surprised to find an editing error on ‘Game of Thrones’
RELATED: ‘Game of Thrones’: Jon Snow’s original romance was even scarier than his relationship with Daenerys
Eagle-eyed fans noticed the mistake during season 8 episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.” During a banquet scene at Winterfell, Daenerys Targaryen can be seen sitting next to a disposable coffee cup that looked surprisingly like the one you would get at Starbucks. The cup on the table was there by mistake. Editors deleted it digitally from the episode two days later.
As expected, the internet went awry and mocked the mistake. The whole incident led to a strong increase in sales for Starbucks, although it was later revealed that the cup in question was simply a generic craft service cup and not from Starbucks at all.
The fake Starbucks cup got money for the coffee salesman
According to CNBC, the wrong coffee cup would have cost six figures to place in a show as popular as Game of Thrones. But because it was a mistake, Starbucks earned the free advertising plus the viral character an estimated $ 2.3 billion in revenue.
“This is a once in a lifetime collision of opportunities for Starbucks,” marketer Stacy Jones told the publication. “But really, this is just the tip of the iceberg, because what is not monitored or appreciated is jungle talk and social media on top of this.”
The cup earned 193,000 mentions in just 48 hours over social media.
“Game of Thrones” execs had a funny answer
In the end, the cup was just a simple mistake, but that did not stop HBO from making a statement about the incident.
“In response to inquiries from those who saw a coffee cup for craft services in Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones: The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea, “wrote HBO-execs according to Insider.
After the controversial final episodes of the series, almost no one talked about the cup anymore as they struggled with the ramifications of Daenerys who got drunk mad queen and killed everyone. Maybe she should have stuck with herbal tea after all.