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About That Coffee Cup In 'Game Of Thrones': It Wasn't Starbucks

About That Coffee Cup In 'Game Of Thrones': It Wasn't Starbucks

Savvy "Game of Thrones" viewers noticed a coffee cup standing on a table in a recent episode and erroneously concluded it was a Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) beverage.

The show's art director Hauke Richter told TMZ the cup is merely from a local coffee shop near the filming location in Northern Ireland.

What Happened

"Game of Thrones," broadcast by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s HBO, is in the middle of its final season.  The show inadvertently blew up social media platforms with what looked like an out-of-place Starbucks cup.

Starbucks benefited from an estimated $2.3 billion in free advertising, according to a CNBC report

Viewers shouldn't be faulted for the error, as the label on the cup wasn't clear.

Nevertheless, there were more than 10,000 mentions of Starbucks and "Game of Thrones" online and on TV and radio, Stacy Jones, CEO of marketing company Hollywood Branded, told CNBC.

The "once-in-a-lifetime collision of opportunity for Starbucks" could even be greater, as it is impossible to monitor any word-of-mouth benefits, Jones said. 

Why It's Important

"Starbucks has become almost synonymous for coffee, so it is understandable that viewers assumed the cup on screen was one of theirs," Charell Star, director of content at Essence, told CNBC.

On the other hand, the viral cup of coffee may have less to do with Starbucks and more with consumers excited about pointing out HBO's mistake, Star also told CNBC.

What's Next

Dan Hill, CEO of Hill Impact, told CNBC the coffee cup will "live on as a meme," so it could prove to be the "gift that will keep on giving" for Starbucks.

Finally, viewers hoping to catch the coffee cup in the future may be disappointed as it has already been edited out of the episode.

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Photo snippet from HBO's "Game of Thrones."


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