Market Share: Brands Capitalize On Game Of Thrones Mania
Since Game of Thrones first debuted on HBO in 2011, the medieval fantasy series has attracted a cult-like following of loyal fans who have watched the show through its eight-season run. As HBO’s most-watched series in history, and having brought in a record 17.4 million viewers for its final season premiere, it’s not surprising that brands—from cosmetics to snacks and fast food, alcoholic beverages, books, props, décor and apparel—have found a way to capitalize on the series’ success, which, according to The New York Times, grossed more than $1 billion annually.
One of the spinoff products included The Game of Thrones Vault by Urban Decay, a $250 eye shadow palette with shades named after factions within the show, such as House Targaryen, House Stark and House Lannister, and the White Walkers and The Night King, along with a popup iron throne. Adidas launched its Ultra Boost sneaker, inspired by the character Jon Snow, with allover dragon scale accents and Game of Thrones-branded insoles, for $180. Urban Outfitters offers its Game of Thrones Tarot Card Deck, complete with characters from the show, for $24.95, and Penguin Random House even published its Feast Of Ice And Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook, featuring recipes inspired by the show, for $35. And of course, there’s a host of themed board games, party décor, toys, ornaments and home décor. HBO also offers a selection of themed products on its website, from books and DVDs to collectibles, limited-edition frames and drinkware.
But that’s not all the series has inspired—it’s also encouraged good action. The American Red Cross jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon, though focusing on a gorier aspect—the bloodshed. The organization launched a marketing campaign, “Bleed for the Throne,” encouraging fans to donate blood for the chance to win an iron throne. And fans helped raise $130,000 for SameYou, a brain injury rehabilitation charity founded by Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen in the show, after the actress experienced two life-threatening aneurysms while filming. And independent of the show or its actors, Game of Thrones fans began raising money for Mencap, a charity in the United Kingdom that helps people with learning disabilities. Kit Harrington, who played Jon Snow, is a dedicated supporter of the organization. After he checked into a wellness retreat to cope with stress and alcohol abuse following the show’s finale, fans took it upon themselves to continue supporting Mencap, setting up a JustGiving page to do so. In a nine-day period, the fan-led campaign raised close to $55,000 for the cause.
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.