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Winter is coming—and with that, so are Game of Thrones’ many, many brand collaborations.
Game of Thrones merchandise and HBO brand partnerships have even been part of selling Game of Thrones to fans for years; in fact, it’s practically built in from the show’s premise with all of those house sigils. We’ve seen clothes, blankets, Funko Pop! Figures, toys, bobblehead dolls, cards, plush direwolves, and a long-running set of Game of Thrones-inspired beers from Ommegang, just to name a few. In recent years, HBO has also gotten into wine, and Game of Thrones partnered with Major League Baseball for a yearly Game of Thrones night. There was even a contest to win a Volvo with the Game of Thrones logo on it a few years ago.
With Game of Thrones season 8 on the horizon, the marketing machine is back in full force. The final season is one of TV’s most anticipated in years. The cast and crew aren’t revealing much, and we didn’t even get our first trailer until last month.
So HBO has gotten creative with how to market a show so well-known that posters don’t even need to carry the full-name anymore. Some staples, such as the Ommegang beer and MLB’s Game of Thrones night, are back. But ahead of season 8, we have many more partnerships and collaborations being marketed to us than in previous seasons. There’s scotch whisky. We can purchase Game of Thrones-themed sneakers and high-end men’s fashion line, a makeup line, cookies, and soda. And remember that Bud Light Super Bowl ad?
Some of it looks cool. Some of it fits within the world of Westeros while others don’t make a whole lot of sense. Some of it is almost definitely out of our price range. But no matter how we feel about it, chances are, it might already be sold out. It’s… quite a bit if we’re being honest.
It feels like, dare I say it, almost like we’re gearing up for a Star Wars movie in terms of product choice. (Having bought plenty of that merch for myself, it might not be a completely bad thing—except for maybe my wallet.) Or maybe it just feels that way because there’s been so little footage to promote Game of Thrones season 8. Or perhaps, with the show ending, this is the time to go all-out because while Game of Thrones fandom will still survive after season 8, it probably won’t ever be this popular again.
Game of Thrones season 8 collaborations
- Price: $180
- How obvious is the Game of Thrones connection: Not very unless you’re looking inside the shoe
Want to support your Westeros house or organization with your kicks? Adidas made that possible with six different versions of its Ultraboost running shoe. House Lannister’s shoe was the flashiest while one version of House Targaryen’s shoes included a hint of the flames Dany’s dragons are known for, but the other four—Night’s Watch, White Walkers, House Stark, and a second for House Targaryen—are all rather muted. They look great, and as of this writing, most of the styles and sizes have sold out.
If you’re not used to purchasing running shoes, the price tag can be a bit of a shock; they’re around the same price as Adidas’ regular Ultraboost shoes. But purchasing them comes with two risks. One, if you’re a runner, that particular style might not work for you, and purchasing them online doesn’t allow you to test them in-person beforehand. And two, if you’re not using them for running, you’re essentially spending nearly $200 on a pair of glorified walking shoes, and there are many more practical options.
2) Game of Thrones x Mountain Dew cans
- Price: N/A
- How obvious is the Game of Thrones connection: Only when chilled
Ahead of season 8, Mountain Dew teamed up with Game of Thrones for a limited edition white soda can, that, when chilled, will reveal the names of several people on Arya’s kill list. The cans are part of a contest which you could enter by revealing what you would sacrifice for the Iron Throne or by locating a vending machine in New York or Los Angeles.
I’m not quite sure what Mountain Dew has to do with Game of Thrones, but it did give us a star-studded remix of the Game of Thrones theme song featuring Migos, the Chainsmokers, and several recognizable sports stars.
3) Oreo Game of Thrones Cookies
- Price: Varies
- How obvious is the Game of Thrones connection: More so if you have a close-up of the Oreo
Sometimes, there’s a logistical way to tie your project to Game of Thrones. Other times, all it takes is slapping some house sigils onto your product to call it a collaboration. The Oreo collaboration is the latter as it offers four different cookie styles—the Stark direwolf, the Lannister lion, the Targaryen three-headed dragon, and the Night King’s face—for you to consume. The cookies will be available nationwide starting April 8, but there is a limited supply. It’s still an Oreo, but just Game of Thrones-themed. For some fans, it might be enough to convince them to pick up a package.
Even if you can’t get your hands on a package of Game of Thrones Oreos, we at least get an Oreo-fueled Game of Thrones animated opening sequence. The center stood in for Westeros’ landscape while 2,750 cookies were used to build iconic landmarks from the ground up. The eventual crumble will be that much sweeter.
FIRST LOOK: the #UrbanDecay | #GameofThrones collection 😱 From the shores of Dragonstone to the frozen land beyond the Wall, this collection was inspired by Westeros & the strong women of the Seven Kingdoms. Available globally starting April 14 #UrbanDecay #FORTHETHRONE #GOT pic.twitter.com/R3QzA1nWSy— Urban Decay (@UrbanDecay) March 29, 2019
- Price: $19-$250
- How obvious is the Game of Thrones connection: More so when it’s part of the packaging
Mining the movies for makeup collaborations is nothing new, but now TV shows are getting in on the fun. And to its credit, Urban Decay went all out when designing its collections; it’s not just one or two items. Some of the prices are comparable to similar Urban Decay products while others are a little more expensive. If you already purchase makeup from Urban Decay, it’s not too much more of a reach.
But as vibrant as many of the pieces look, it could just as easily turn into one of those items you buy, use a few times, and largely forget with the rest of your makeup collection.
- Price: Varies by market/region
- How obvious is the Game of Thrones connection: Very from the packaging and the name
If nothing else, partnering up for alcoholic collaborations is at least on-brand for Game of Thrones, thanks to its years-long relationship with Ommegang, and Johnnie Walker gets points for the name. The price is all over the place, so it depends on how much you’re willing to drop for a novelty bottle of whisky.
But as far as the taste is concerned, it all depends on how much you like whisky. If you do, you might be more inclined to like it (or have an opinion) on it. But if you don’t, you’re probably out of luck.
- Price: $98-$2,698
- How obvious is the Game of Thrones connection: Some more than others
We’ve seen more than our fair share of Game of Thrones clothes over the years, but John Varvatos is the only luxury fashion brand making a Game of Thrones collection this year. The 11-piece collection includes T-shirts, pants, a messenger bag, a henley, and jackets.
They key word here is luxury. The collection is very expensive—Varvatos’ T-shirts are $98, far more than you can find in places like the HBO Store—and some of the items cost as much as a designer handbag and exceed a month’s rent. If you can afford it, it might be cool to have, but for the smallfolk, it’s about as attainable as a dragon.
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.