With record-breaking viewer numbers, HBO’s cult classic TV show Game of Thrones has been an epic commercial success. So the decision to showcase GoT merchandise in a refurbished cargo container wasn’t motivated by budget restraints.


But even though money was clearly no object, when they set out on the American festival circuit in 2014 to sell GoT-themed products to diehard fans and pop culture vultures, HBO opted for an economical shipping container pop-up.


Conceived by the pop-up retail pioneers at Vacant, the mobile Game of Thrones container crypt made its debut at Austin’s 2014 SXSW Festival. Next, it popped up at the Linq in Las Vegas, before thrilling fans of the show at Comic-Con in San Diego and at UCLA in Los Angeles.


The entire wall of the converted shipping container drops down to reveal the company’s product selection. HBO has licensed a range of Game of Thrones inspired merchandise, including replica weapons and armour, jewellery, games, beer, apparel and bobble-head dolls.


High-end merchandise includes a $10,500 Ulysse Nardin wristwatch and a $30,000 resin replica of the Iron Throne.

Painted black – both inside and out – and adorned with regal red carpets, the container’s vault-like aesthetic evokes a sense of the medieval realism that permeates the hit show.


For Game of Thrones fans, the container provides an immersive shopping experience – it’s almost like stepping onto the set of the show.

Shipping container pop-up shops are a fun, versatile solution for retailers that want to forego the expensive overheads of bricks-and-mortar retail.


With installations like HBO’s Game of Thrones container kiosk, companies can focus on major events and holidays, and secure short-term locations to capitalise on heavy foot traffic and seasonal retail.