As Game of Thrones excitement dies down just days after the series finale, I can’t help but notice that references have been popping up everywhere – even at my favorite coffee shop.
People far and wide have been taking advantage of Game of Thrones’ outrageous fandom. Starting with 2.5 million viewers in season one, the fan base has grown exponentially with a record of 17.4 million viewers tuning in for their fix of blood and guts in the premier of season eight.
It seems like wherever you turn, Game of Thrones is right in front of you – from the specialty menu at my local coffee shop to references in a multitude of ads and campaigns (like the Dragon Drink at Starbucks and Bud Light’s ad resurrecting Bud Knight, mimicking the return of (spoiler!) Jon Snow in season six.).
It’s clear that Game of Thrones has an impressive amount of influence and reach, and catering to its cult following is a great move for business. Even when not intentional, the power of the cult following is massive: a recent blunder, accidentally leaving a Starbucks coffee cup in a shot in the fourth episode of season eight, propelled Starbucks to earn $2.3 billion in free advertising.
So – who won the iron throne? Anyone paying attention and playing to Game of Thrones’ massive audience, that’s who.