Bloopers are usually a fun thing that fans of TV shows or movies can look out for while taking in their favorite series for the fifth time, but sometimes they can lead to so much more.
With “Game of Thrones” being such a cultural phenomenon, Starbucks would’ve had to pay somewhere between $250,000 and $1 million to have their product featured in an episode.
That’s what happened to Starbucks on Sunday, when a misplaced coffee cup on a table in the background of HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones” led to a treasure trove of free publicity.
The company’s stock also rose from $77.38 at the opening bell Monday to as much as $78.71 on Tuesday and stood at $78.20 by lunchtime Wednesday on the East Coast for a nice “Game of Thrones” bump.
According to Business Insider, the anachronistic cardboard cup (which may not even be from Starbucks) could be worth tens of millions in free publicity for the coffee giant:
“The total audience that’s talking about this — we’re surpassing 100 million people probably and it’s all over the world,” said Stacy Jones, CEO of Hollywood Branded, a marketing company that specializes in product placement.
“The entire world right now is talking about Starbucks and ‘Game of Thrones,’ which is crazy! That doesn’t happen for a brand,” she added.
On Monday, Apex Marketing Group Inc. told MarketWatch that the anachronistic cup could be worth in the region of $11.6 million, but Jones said this figure has likely “tripled, quadrupled, or grown by five times since then.”
“The publicity value is going into the tens of millions,” she said, adding: “It doesn’t matter, at all” that the coffee isn’t actually from Starbucks.
With “Game of Thrones” being such a cultural phenomenon, Starbucks would’ve had to pay somewhere between $250,000 and $1 million to have their product featured in an episode, according to Jones. Even that would not have been possible though, because HBO does not accept payment from advertisers to show products in their original programming, Jones clarified.
So one little $5 mystery drink made it onto the screen of show that is usually airtight about mistakes like this, and fans were off and running on social media.
A Twitter spokeswoman told MarketWatch that Starbucks tweets were running at 10 times their average hourly tweets on Monday morning.
“There have been more than 310,000 tweets today, and I’d say on an average normal day there are usually less than 100,000 tweets,” she said.
The strength of the Starbucks brand led to a viral marketing campaign that no one could’ve predicted, proving that sometimes mistakes do pay, and pay quite well.