The white paper Starbucks cup that launched a thousand tweets has already been recycled from Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” episode – but not before giving Starbucks a billion-dollar shot of free advertising.
In an interview with CNBC, 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,” Jones 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.”
On Tuesday, HBO confirmed to USA TODAY that it had it digitally removed the decidedly non-medieval, coffee cup from the feast scene in Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.”
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Starbucks officials reached Tuesday said they didn’t have any additional comment to share beyond the coffee giant’s Monday tweet: “TBH we’re surprised she didn’t order a Dragon Drink,” using the abbreviation for “to be honest.”
HBO’s tweet Monday said the “latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.”
Some experts didn’t put a dollar figure on the product placement but estimated it could be millions.
“It’s a tempest in a tea cup – or coffee cup,” said Bob Killian, CEO of the eponymous Chicago-based branding firm. “There’s no such thing as bad publicity, but I don’t think this will have much impact, (except) Dunkin’ Donuts probably is not happy.”
Syracuse University professor Les Rose said it was likely a series of mistakes and someone could get fired over it.
“This is manna from heaven for so many film and production geeks,” Rose said.
Contributing: Jayme Deerwester and Zlati Meyer
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko