The Game of Thrones’ Starbucks Cup Snafu

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.”

About the Author: As an Account Supervisor at Fusion Public Relations, Ruchi is responsible for day-to-day account management, strategy development and execution of communication campaigns. Over the past five years, Ruchi has demonstrated success in implementing communications programs for clients from a variety of industries including fintech, professional services, blockchain, real estate, insurtech, and construction. She has a thorough understanding of emerging trends in both traditional and social media, and can easily identify the best platforms for clients to engage with their stakeholders. Ruchi is skilled in media relations, crisis communications, social media content creation, analyst relations, and corporate communications. Ruchi holds an M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from New York University and a B.S. in Electronics and Communications Engineering from National Institute of Technology.