Starbucks: Using Confrontational Marketing to Build Brand Awareness in a Saturated Market
Today as I was crossing the Embarcadero I noticed that this gentleman had left his coffee on the roof of his car. Midway through the cross walk I turned and pointed at him and he just waved at me. I ran back to the other side of the crosswalk and approached his window as he wasn’t getting what I was pointing at. When I got close enough to speak to him I told him that his coffee was on his roof. He looked at me and said, “I know, Happy Holiday’s from Starbucks!” At first I didn’t get it, it didn’t sink in, so I told him again, your coffee it’s on your roof and again he looked me square in they eye and said, “yes, yes, I know, Happy Holidays from Starbucks.” It was at this point that I realized that the coffee cup was permanently affixed to his roof and that he was an advertisement in disguise.
I can just imagine the meeting when some PR guy was pitching this one to Starbuck’s corporate, yeah, yeah, we’ll trick all these people, it will be great!
Even though I’m not sure how I feel about cars clogging traffic and polluting the City with exhaust to make a marketing point, I still had a chuckle when I realized that I’d been had.
*Davis Freeberg update – It turns out that this is the second year that Starbucks has run the campaign. Jim Romenesko pointed out that Starbucks Gossip blogged about a similar campaign in Boston earlier this year. Starbucks has an interesting video clip of their coffee cup on a taxi cab at theredcup.com. The site is in flash, but if you click on the TV and select the clip “follow that cup”, you can see the commercial that goes with the campaign.