Trump's 'Game of Thrones' tweet was like 'five Super Bowl ads' for HBO, say brand experts

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By Claire Atkinson

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” got $25.2 million in free publicity on Thursday, after President Donald Trump referenced the show in a tweet displaying his reaction to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hotly anticipated report.

“Game Over,” tweeted Trump, using the show’s notable font across an image of himself turned away from the camera, staring into a cloudy abyss. “No collusion. No obstruction. For the haters and the radical left Democrats.”

Trump tweeted the image at 9:57 ET on Thursday morning after Attorney General William Barr’s press conference, and it is currently his pinned tweet.

With 4 billion views across the globe, the tweet has generated $25.2 million in free exposure for HBO over the past 24 hours, according to Apex Marketing, which tracked the post’s coverage on TV, radio, and online. Such exposure is equivalent to five Super Bowl ads, said Eric Smallwood, president of Apex.

Trump has tested HBO’s patience before, using other visuals echoing phrases from the hit show, such as “The wall is coming,” and “Sanctions are coming.”

Despite the free press, HBO objected to the tweet, citing copyright infringement.

“Though we can understand the enthusiasm for Game of Thrones, now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes,” the company said Thursday. The network declined to say if it had sent a cease-and-desist letter to the White House. HBO’s comments then propelled additional coverage of the tweet.

It’s not the first time Trump has created copyright issues with HBO parent company, AT&T. Last week, he shared a two-minute campaign video using music composed for “The Dark Knight Rises,” a Batman movie from Warner Bros.

“We are working through appropriate channels to have it removed,” Warner Bros. Entertainment said in a statement at the time. Warner is also owned by AT&T through its WarnerMedia unit. The video is no longer viewable and was removed by YouTube for copyright violations.