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December 7, 2005

Starbucks: Pitching to Unsuspecting Good Samaritans

Thomas Hawk recounts an interesting experience where Starbucks tried to get his attention by making him express concern for a fellow citizen. He thinks it's clever -- I think it's an uncomfortable trick to pull on your potential customers.


We think it's an appalling idea. Here's why:

a) Does an omnipresent brand like Starbucks need to conduct the sort of stunt that is more apt for a new brand.
b) It makes us think of what the guys on the American Copywriter podcast said about the payoff: there isn't any here. Starbucks created a situation, made someone feel a fool and then... erm, they wished them Happy Holidays. Is that really a 'pay off' or just a bad marketing idea?
c) Someone convince us that this campaign falls inside the Starbucks brand guidelines.

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