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How these brands won big with “Game of Thrones” fans

by | May 31, 2019 | Analysis, Public Relations

The battle for “Game of Thrones” fans was hard fought among a handful of brands that forged partnerships with the HBO fantasy show.

YouGov took a look at its Plan & Track data on “Game of Thrones” fans’ preference for Adidas, Oreo, Urban Decay (L’Oreal), and Johnnie Walker, which all partnered with the show for its final season. Starbucks also made the list because of an unintentional association.

Unlike the show’s characters, every one of these brand tie-ins has a happy ending because the final season of “Game of Thrones” broke television viewership records and the sentiments were generally positive for every company.

If the throne had to be awarded to a single partnership, however, Oreo makes the strongest claim in our analysis. “Game of Thrones” fans prefer the chocolate creme sandwich cookie far more than the average American (12 percent vs. 3 percent).

How these brands won big with “Game of Thrones” fans

On the bottom end of the spectrum is Starbucks. Average Joes feel about the same as “Game of Thrones” fans when it comes to the coffee company. But the brand did try to capitalize on the viral spread of an anachronism in the show: a Starbucks cup was spotted in front of Emilia Clarke’s character Daenerys Targaryen in episode 4 of the final season.

In terms of buzz, which measures whether or not you have heard something positive or negative about a brand recently, Oreo also comes out ahead. The cookie company saw the most lift in positive discussions about the brands that associated themselves with “Game of Thrones” during the show’s final season.

How these brands won big with “Game of Thrones” fans

Urban Decay’s parent company L’Oreal also appears to have gotten a bit of a bounce on its positive Buzz over that timespan.

Once again, Starbucks, which might have had the biggest viral advantage when one of its cups was seen in an episode, didn’t gain much of a boost with GoT fans. That may explain why the company didn’t attempt to establish an official brand partnership.

The brands mentioned had mixed results in terms of Buzz generated and customer overlap with their “Game of Thrones” tie-ups.

But some others brands that did attach themselves to the show’s brand may have passed up a good opportunity to excite people.

YouGov’s Plan & Track index shows a number of brands that overlap all-too-well with fans of the HBO epic, and some of the results are surprising. In trying to get to know who is a “Game of Thrones” fan we looked at brands that they’ve said they like. We sorted the data by Z-score, which highlights the biggest differences between two groups, in this case average Americans and “Game of Thrones” fans.

How these brands won big with “Game of Thrones” fans

“Thrones” fans disproportionately like Apple, Toyota and Tesla as brands when compared to average Americans. Those three rank highest in Z-Score, meaning there’s a big overlap for the brands and Thrones fans. Southwest Airlines, Wendy’s, McDonalds, Samsung, Disney World, and M&M all have scores higher than Oreo, which scored highest among the brands we analyzed.

Digging a little bit deeper into Thrones fans’ preferences reveals what else they’re watching: The Rachel Maddow Show, Veep, Barry and The Walking Dead. Classic rock dominates their musical tastes: Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Fleetwood Mac top the list. They like to eat tacos and own dogs, and when it comes to literature, Twain, Tolkien and Stephen King.

If we look at what sort of things “Thrones” fans buy, we get another look at potential missed opportunities for consumer brand tie-ins. Over the last 60 days, “Game of Thrones” watchers are more likely than the public to have used Venmo, shopped at Stop & Shop and purchased a ticket on Frontier Airlines.

One other metric that could be important for advertisers looking to capture the attention of “Game of Thrones” fans. This group reports that in terms of advertisements, roadside billboards capture their attention more than the average American.

This article originally appeared on the YouGov blog; reprinted with permission.

Thumbnail image credit: Shamoor.com

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Andrew Greiner
Andrew Greiner is Head of Content for US for YouGov.

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