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The Power of TV: How GOT Just Accidentally Ignited A Multi-Million Dollar Starbucks Branded Campaign

Even if you don’t watch Game of Thrones, chances are you heard about the recent mishap that resulted in a modern day coffee cup airing during the latest episode. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sunday’s episode “The Last of the Starks” drew 11.8 million viewers for its first airing, but Starbucks somehow managed to turn the coffee cup into a multi-billion dollar ad campaign. And when you break it down, a clever tweet was the catalyst for it all.

It turns out that the coffee cup was not even from Starbucks, but that well-timed Tweet created a cultural moment – fueled by implication – that consumed the entire internet. A recent report from CNBC estimated that when all was said and done, the estimated media value was upwards of $2.3 billion. This includes more than 193K mentions across social forums, blogs and news sites in the 48 hours following the show, according to social media analytics and monitoring platform Talkwalker.

Let’s be real, “media value” like this is next to impossible to truly quantify. The real takeaway here is that the power of TV is alive and well. The lines between TV and digital are becoming increasingly blurry, and TV has the potential to spawn cultural moments for brands that can migrate to digital and own the conversation across platforms.

As digital TV continues to grow, this is a perfect example of how brands can be integrated into premium programming and transcend traditional advertising blocks and formats. Sure, this example was unintentional, but it still shines a bright light on the possibilities moving forward.