Monday, January 23, 2006

What is going on at Starbucks these days

Lots of posts about Starbucks partnering with Lions Gate Films to promote the movie Akeelah and The Bee.  Ok, I had never heard of the movie prior to reading some of these posts and I haven’t seen any merchandising or advertising in my local Starbucks.

Brand Autopsy posts on the upside of this deal for Starbucks:

The financial upside for Starbucks with this partnership is tremendous. It’s my understanding Starbucks is paying Lions Gate NO MONEY. Instead, Starbucks is trading real estate space in its 5,500+ North American stores to promote this movie. By placing signage in-stores ranging from posters, to coffee cup sleeves, and placards alongside muffins in the pastry case, Starbucks will receive a share of box office sales, merchandising revenue, television rights, soundtrack sales, and DVD sales (including sales at non-Starbucks locations). We are talking about Starbucks potentially receiving millions upon millions of incremental dollars that can go directly to the bottom-line.

And they also post about the downside:

. . . violating the trust of customers and store employees. Customers and employees have come to expect Starbucks not to treat them like tools in the marketing promotional game.

I haven’t seen any of the advertising yet, so it’s hard for me to how invasive it is or isn’t.  However, I agree with Brand Autopsy that Starbucks thus far has been very careful about how they market non-Starbucks products and seem to be moving away from that to chase dollars.

Then I saw a post on Church of the Customer that provided more information on how invasive the advertising is going to be:

. . . you plan to advertise movies on cup sleeves, offer trivia games on chalk boards, and feature words from films in the pastry cases

Wow, that’s sounds a lot like McDonald's to me.

I especially like this quote that Church of the Customer offers up:

The underlying foundation of this company is not about growth. It is about the passionate, soulful connection we have with our people, [and] our customers...No matter how many avenues [we pursue], and now matter how much we grow, our fundamental core values and purpose won't change.

Captures the essence of exactly why Starbucks shouldn’t be doing this, doesn’t it?  I bet you might not be able to guess where it’s from.  It’s from Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by Howard Schulz, CEO of Starbucks.

Link — Brand Autopsy

Link — Church of the Customer

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