16 April 2008

Starbucks' Latest

Good morning, all!

Since coffee is the beverage for me today in the wee hours, and I randomly added something irrational last night, it seemed good to add something rational about coffee. :)

Perhaps you have noticed Starbucks putting out new advertisements recently; if one is even a minor coffee aficionado, the ads' target is obvious: get those Peet's lovers over here and disperse the mass commercial exodus. Why? The ads proclaim a "coffee for coffee lovers" called "Pike Place Roast". The name is based off of the first location of Starbucks, at Pike's Place in Washington. The problem: The alliteration and words sound awfully familiar to the name of their nearest competitor, and those who go to Peet's often say that they find the coffee there existing in purer form.

Now, I don't blame Starbucks for competing. Competition is what drives the economy. But I do have a few issues with this new "campaigning":

a) I don't much like people or companies who negate competition; it seems much more prudent and secure a notion to offer something in which you are especially different and proficient. By acknowledging competition it implies that the competition is worth your attention, which wouldn't be true if you believed you had a better, or more authentic, product. The ads therefore implicitly acknowledge that the competition (namely, Peet's) is already far better.

b) The ad also implies that Starbucks has not previously had "coffee for coffee lovers". In other words, the ad acknowledges not just that Peet's is better, but that they have become better because Starbucks has failed to offer a good product. If I were a previous Starbucks regular, boy would I feel ripped off. This is not to mention how invalidated or humiliated I might be if I thought their bean juice was better bean juice, or even a better product, prior to these ads showing up.

In my opinion, Starbucks just accelerated their fall from stardom's graces. Expect a stock share plummet, if it hasn't already finished.


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