HBO Explains and Fixes That Starbucks Cup On 'Game Of Thrones'

By Dave Basner

May 7, 2019

The internet was set ablaze like a dragon breathed on it yesterday because what looked like a Starbucks cup accidentally made its way into Sunday night's episode of HBO's hit series Game Of Thrones. A coffee cup very similar to the coffee chain's could be seen on a table in front of Daenerys Targaryen and it seems everyone with a Twitter account was writing about it. Well HBO has finally responded, admitting to the error in a statement that jokes, "The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea."

Executive Producer Bernie Caulfield explained the mistake on the All Of It podcast, saying, "I can’t believe [it]! Our on-set prop people and decorators are so on it one thousand percent. I just honestly can’t, I’m like, is that really? Because nowadays you can’t believe what you see because people can put things into a photo that really doesn’t exist. But I guess maybe it was there, I’m not sure. But, yeah. We’re sorry! Westeros was the first place to actually to have Starbucks, it’s a little known fact." She added that while rare for a big budget show like GoT, these slip-ups do happen and "if that's the worst thing they're finding, then we're in good shape."

The cup has since been quietly edited out of the episode on HBO Go.

It turns out, it probably wasn't even a Starbucks cup. The show's art director told TMZ that the cup, which was picked up at the production's craft services table, came from a local coffee shop in Northern Ireland, near where they filmed. That didn't matter to the coffee chain, which made sure to exploit the unintentional plug, tweeting out, "TBH we're surprised she didn't order a Dragon Drink."

It turns out the mistake was incredibly profitable for Starbucks. One marketing firm estimates that while HBO doesn't accept payment for product placement on its shows, if it did it would likely have cost Starbucks between $250,000 and one million dollars. However, the value of the publicity it generated on social media, TV and radio is worth millions. Another marketing expert put that number at $11.6 million on Monday morning, which means it is likely double if not triple that estimate by now.

Photo: HBO

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