Starbucks gained an estimated $2.3 billion in free advertising over the last few days after a modern-day coffee cup was spotted during a “Game of Thrones” episode — and it turns out it wasn’t even a Starbucks cup.
On Sunday, eagle-eyed fans of HBO’s fantasy epic noticed something out of place during a feast scene. Photos and videos of the moment went viral on social media within hours of the show airing.
The label is muddled in shadow, but many fans speculated that it was the iconic green siren from Starbucks — and most of the jokes and discussion called out the Seattle coffee chain by name. Turns out, it was just a craft services cup.
Stacy Jones, CEO of marketing company Hollywood Branded, put the estimated value of all the buzz at $2.3 billion. Jones cited PR subscriptions service Critical Mention, which has tallied 10,627 mentions of Starbucks and ‘Game of Thrones’ online and on TV and radio around the world.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime collision of opportunity for Starbucks,” she said. “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.”
Separately, social media analytics and monitoring platform Talkwalker counted more than 193,000 mentions within 48 hours that cited both Starbucks and “Game of Thrones,” or a variation of the series’ hashtag, on Twitter, in social forums, blogs and news sites.
Starbucks declined to comment.