By now you’ve likely heard about that Starbucks cup that popped up in a scene in last week’s Game of Thrones. Who put it there? Was it the Lord of Light? Did showrunners Benioff and Weiss place it there as some type of meta-commentary on the fantasy genre and the suspension of disbelief? Nope. Just a good old fashioned mistake. You might be surprised to learn it wasn’t even a Starbucks coffee — just a regular old cup of coffee from the onset craft services. While this misstep is embarrassing for Game of Thrones and HBO, especially after fighting off complaints that their show this season has been poorly lit, one entity has come out victorious in this whole mess — Starbucks.
The coffee chain is reaping all the benefits of premium product placement, without paying for it! According to Business Insider, the value of such product placement would have cost the company a large sum of money.
“If we were looking at this in the grand scheme of things and we were comparing ‘Game of Thrones’ to the other largest-watched content out there… you’re looking at the $250,000 to $1 million range for product placement where that product was positioned with a very central character,” Stacy Jones, CEO of marketing agency Hollywood Branded told Business Insider, adding:
“The publicity value is going into the tens of millions…It doesn’t matter, at all [that the coffee isn’t actually from Starbucks].”