Ruchi Pandey, Account Supervisor, Fusion Public Relations
“Game of Thrones” is one of the biggest franchises of our time, having transitioned from a best-selling book series to a TV show to a powerful commercial advertising brand. Over the last twenty years, it has expanded into a ubiquitous aspect of pop culture.
With a Season 7 finale that drew 15.4 million viewers across live television, Game of Thrones is one of those shows where fans will freeze the episodes to micro-analyze each and every frame. The fans do so to join in the online buzz after each episode, sharing their opinions, creating memes, and posting other relatable content that many identify with. While there is speculation that the Starbucks cup in the latest Game of Thrones episode was a marketing ploy, the question to ask is: does Starbucks even need such a marketing stunt? While it is guaranteed to garner attention from residents of the Game of Thrones universe, will it deliver on Starbucks larger marketing objective? Will it help expand Starbucks’ customer base?
As a brand known as the most popular coffeehouse in the world that has a solid reputation and has set beautiful examples for the PR industry, this does not seem intentional or necessary. Nonetheless, the brand was likely ecstatic about the accidental placement worth millions in advertising dollars.
Moreover, Game of Thrones is not the type of show to have modern day product placements due to its genre as a medieval fantasy epic. Many shows often do not even consider product placement deals due to their popularity and lack of need for them, especially ones backed by networks such as HBO. For reference Game of Thrones’ seasons often have budgets in the millions. Additionally, a few seasons ago on Game of Thrones, another coffee cup was spotted from a different brand with an illegible logo. If the Starbucks Cup blooper speaks to anything, it is that the actors and team on set enjoy their coffee.
On a personal note, however, I would be excited to order Starbucks drinks if I knew Khaleesi or Jon Snow also drank it.”