HBO’s Reaction to Trump’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Campaign

Everyone wants a piece of the “Game of Thrones” lemon cake. From Bud Light to Red Bull the world of Westeros is open to a lot of brand partnerships, unless you’re using that iconic typeface to push a political agenda.

In November of 2018 President Donald Trump unveiled a “Thrones” inspired poster with the words “Sanctions Are Coming” printed across a portrait of the 45th president.

“Our attitude was we don’t really like our IP to be used for political purposes,” said HBO’s EVP and head of marketing Chris Spadaccini.

“It’s is such a cultural phenomenon that brands are going to be out there culture jacking ‘Game of Thrones,’” Spadaccini explained at Variety’s Entertainment Marketing Summit, presented by Deloitte. Listing off the various properties who have appeared in their social feed from Charmin, Wendy’s to Hulu but the marketing exec seemed a bit shocked that, “Trump got in on the action.”

US President Donald J. Trump (C) speaks in front of a poster depicting his image, beside US Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt (L) and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan (R); during a meeting with members of Trump's Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 02 January 2019. President Trump used the opportunity to speak on plans to host Congressional Democratic and Republican leaders to discuss the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government and funding for border security. Trump also spoke on international affairs and the economy. US President Donald J. Trump holds a Cabinet meeting, Washington, USA - 02 Jan 2019

“We didn’t want to pick a fight with the president,” Spadaccini said. “I gave my social team a lot credit because they had a very snarky little subtweet that said, ‘How do you say trademark infringement in Dothraki?’ And that got a lot of press coverage.”

Spadaccini’s team may have played coy, but the “Game of Thrones” cast certainly did not.

Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark wrote, “Not today.” Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) posted a simple “Ew.”

Guess they can’t all be white walker whiskey.

The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” premieres April 14 on HBO.

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