Production ofculture: A game of thrones.
‘A Game ofthrones’, the novel sequel and TV series, have won several awardsand received raving critical reviews. The series of books, which wasrelatively unknown before the TV series first aired, have sold over24 million copies in North American alone as of September 2013(Grover, 2013). This cultural product has the potential to offer avery huge collection of merchandise. So far, the ‘game of thrones’brand has produced a total of 436 branded items ranging from flasksto sound tracks. This shows that the brand has an exponentialpotential for growth if it is packaged well for the market with sucha wide product range. The seven kingdoms depicted and the hugeturnover of new kings means that the brand can be extended and reacha wider market.
It would beinteresting to study how the choice of the 436 merchandises for thebrand was arrived at. This is because there are interestingconstraints and aesthetics to be considered in production of suchcultural products. For instance, one of the products that the firm isselling is flasks. The aesthetic appeal of the product is supposed tomeet a delicate balance of modern tastes and preferences of themarket and at the same time retain antique look that gives it thelook or matches it to the brand of “A game of thrones.” This isbecause the TV series itself uses ancient leather flasks that canhardly serve any purposes today. Fine () captures this by saying that‘niceness’ of culinary cultural products does not automaticallytranscend sentimentality. For this particular brand, there are avariety of beers named after some kingdoms in the TV series, so howdo the marketers ensure that they meet the quality demanded byclients in a bounded culinary market? This is because demand focuseson the expressive aspect of culture rather than the values (Peterson& Anand, 2004). In this case, does the flask meet the expressiveaspect of the actual game of thrones flasks, or it is made and soldon the basis of its functional purposes as a flask?
Another issuethat is important in understanding how Game of thrones brand marketsits merchandise is the authenticity of the manufacturing process. Theseries has not only popularized certain artifacts but also theprocess of making them. For instance, swords in the series are madethe old fashioned way where a still rod is heated in coal repeatedlyand hammered repeatedly to become a flat sword of strengthened metalpreferably iron. Given that Game of thrones branded swords are beingsold at over $300 online, it would be interesting to learn whetherthey market the swords as traditional made or just manufactured inmodern metal mills. Becker (1984) notes that if a piece of artworkwhich is being exchanged for money on the basis that it is made bythe original artist to which the artwork is attributed, but that isnot the case, then the artifact loses value.
Studying culturalproduct of “game of thrones would be very interesting andinformative. This is because the target market is largely adult whichdiffers largely from other actors in the market such as Harry Potteror any of the common superheros such as Batman, Superman or Ironman.A plastic ironman figurine would generally have the acceptableaesthetic appeal to a kid but a plastic warrior helmet would not havesuch appeal to an adult. The case with this brand merchandise is thattheir niche market would target actual products as depicted in the TVsuch as the throne made of swords, metallic and branded swords andsuch. This I think would make an interesting study to understand howsuch a brand would serve the cultural market that believes inunbounded constraints to quality production.
Becker, (1984).Art worlds. Los Angeles: University of California Press
Fine, G. (1992). The culture of production: Aesthetic choices andconstraints in culinary work. The American Journal of Sociology.97(5)1268-1294.
Peterson, R. &Anand, N. The production of culture perspective. Annu. Rev.Sociol. 2004. 30:311–34.