‘Game of Thrones’ Coffee Cup Mistake May Have Given Starbucks Billions in Free Advertising


That infamous Game of Thrones coffee cup incident has given Starbucks A LOT of free publicity. And we aren’t exaggerating.

During the feast scene in Sunday night’s episode, viewers noticed a modern-day disposable cup sitting in front of Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke. Though the cup’s logo was fairly blurry, many viewers  quickly assumed it was a Starbucks drink—an assumption that resulted in countless funny headlines and viral memes.


It turns out that the cup wasn’t actually from Starbucks after all. It was from craft services, as confirmed by a HBO press release:

In response to inquiries from those who saw a craft services coffee cup in Sunday night’s episode ofGame of Thrones, HBO states, ‘The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.’

By the time HBO made the clarification, Starbucks had already received a ton of free press coverage. Stacy Jones, CEO of marketing company Hollywood Branded, estimates that the publicity was worth more than $2.3 billion.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime collision of opportunity for Starbucks,” she told CNBC. “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.”

To be honest, I think we all would’ve played on it too!