AdvertisingDramaeSportsListsGame of Thrones Goof-Up earns Starbucks $2.3 Billion worth Free Advertisement

Sidharth Jena3 years ago
  • Starbucks gains free advertisement worth of billions of dollars due to a goof-up by Game of Thrones Team.
  • As confirmed by leading publications and media houses, the latte doesn’t belong to Starbucks.
  • An official statement has been issued by Game of Thrones Twitter handle confirming the goof-up and the edited Episode has been uploaded as of Tuesday, 7th May 2019.

What if I say, the loyal fans of Game of Thrones did a great job in spotting the latte in the latest episode of Game of Thrones but it doesn’t belong to the Seattle coffee chain (Starbucks) rather was just another craft services cup. Well the marketing has been done and according to a marketing expert the estimated free advertisement received by Starbucks due to this Game of Thrones goof-up can be accounted to nearly $2.3 Billion dollars, INR 1600 crores in Indian National Rupees.

Jo Alag Dikhta Hai, Wohi Dikhta Hai


Game of Thrones Starbucks Goof-Up
Snapshot from Game of Thrones Episode Featuring the Latte
Edited Game of Thrones Pic
Snapshot from Edited Game of Thrones Episode

The Game of Thrones goof-up definitely made the already trending #GameofThrones #tag across social media platforms trending and the fans couldn’t keep calm but went on sharing their own form of memes, trolls and posts associated with the topic. Anyways Sometimes mistakes can also be a blessing and most importantly if you are on the Starbucks side.

How Starbucks gained from this Game of Thrones Goof-Up?

The eagle eyed attention to detail Game of Thrones fans did very much a good job to spot the latte cup but the very first thing that came to their mind while thinking of it being a coffee mug is Starbucks.

Interpretation: Starbucks team should pat their back for beautifully positioning their brand in the minds of consumer as synonymous to coffee. The iconic green siren is the first thing that comes to every coffee fanatics mind.

Over all this particular goof-up by Game of Thrones has covered 6 Ps of marketing for Starbucks: –

  • Product
  • Promotion
  • Packaging
  • Positioning
  • People
  • Place

Most importantly the Packaging and Positioning really hit the bulls eye with this blunder.

What the Experts Say?

According to leading Social Media analytics companies and 3rd party social media tools, there were more than 193,000+ mentions within 48 hours of airing of the 4th episode of Season 8 that included “Starbucks” & “Game of Thrones” together or a series of similar #tags on Twitter, social forums, Instagram and blogs.

“This is a once in a lifetime collision of opportunity for Starbucks, 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 said by Stacy Jones, CEO of Marketing Company Hollywood Branded to CNBC

The fact that it was an accidental product placement of Starbucks shaped coffee cup without any planned sponsored content around it, made this mistake a more valuable boosting for the Seattle based coffee chain. However, many marketing analysts and critics pointed out that the trend around this topic contained more of pointing out the mistake done by HBO rather than focusing the energy on Starbucks. This is where the coffee giant was not dragged into the negative publicity but the trends really showed its brand power and brand recall amongst its users worldwide.

Common Views as shared by Experts Worldwide on Game of Thrones Goof-Up

 As stated above the accident made it more valuable for Starbucks and possibly can be accounted as one of the costliest product placement accident in the history of corporate world.

Most experts were in the same page regarding this blunder by Game of Thrones and shared that a Starbucks coffee is not a big deal but the fact that in a setting like that of Game of Thrones, the coffee cup made a presence, made every die hard Game of Thrones fans go nuts over this.

According to Industry experts, HBO never encourages paid product placements, rather the brands supply the products for the shooting, offsetting the cost of production rather than involving any form of monetary transaction. This is where many marketing professionals were amazed by the first sighting of the latte in the episode.

Why it kept everyone Buzzing around?

As mentioned above, the goof-up by Game of Thrones and HBO ensured Starbucks could save upto $2.3 Billion dollars of advertisement expense. Many still believe the blunder would cost HBO more than the estimated considering the huge fan following, craze, reach and viewership of the web-series worldwide. Based on figures doing rounds, the 5th May episode where latte made a special appearance drew around 11.8 Million viewers for its first airing.

$2.3 Billion Dollars, that’s a huge amount for a charity. However, this would ensure such a big blunder is never ever repeated by any other Web-series in the future.

How Starbucks made the Best out of It?

When it comes to coffee, first thing that comes to mind of the coffee fanatics is Starbucks followed by other coffee based brands. Making maximum use of the current trend and that too without spending a penny, Starbucks went on to launch a new combination of dragon fruit and coconut milk, as they call it a match made in paradise in true Game of Thrones style.

How Brands can avoid such blunders on Digital Ad Placements in Future?

The blunder by Game of Thrones was a human led error where probably the unit forgot to pick the latte after a short coffee break. But when it comes to online based ads, the placement is completely algorithm driven based on the interest, topics, keywords as selected by the advertiser. In most cases the placement is also not in control of the advertisers. This is where Vidooly’s brand safety tool comes to the rescue of advertisers where it ensures advertising related blunders do not happen.

Brand safety tool by Vidooly ensures your brand advertisements are protected from extremist or controversial content and the placement happens besides relevant topics or interests. Our technology scans every possible fraudulent video titles, description, meta tags, channel names and goes through a mix of human and machine review to ensure the video content on digital platforms meets the brand safety guidelines.

Wrapping up Starbucks declines to make any comment on this topic even though Dragon Drink has been launched by the coffee giant. All we can say is even though Game of Thrones, Avengers End Game made all the noise in May’19 but somewhere UEFA Champions League Final went on to grab the maximum attention.

Brand Safety Tool



Sidharth Jena

Sidharth is a Sports and Travel Enthusiast with keen interest in the field of Marketing especially Digital Marketing. He finds ultimate happiness in small things and doing simple yet un-common things. Helping brands/companies go Online.

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