Starbuck’s answer to McCafe: messaging disaster?

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In a New York Times article today,  Starbuck’s answer to McDonald’s McCafé $100 million dollar blitz is:

“If your coffee isn’t perfect, we’ll make it over. If it’s still not perfect, you must not be in a Starbucks.”

In the article Terry Davenport, chief marketing officer at Starbucks, is quoted as saying..

“[Competition] is trying to just commoditize coffee and take it down to a level where all coffee’s the same, and if coffee’s coffee, you might as well buy the cheap stuff. … We just don’t believe that to be true. That’s why we wanted to tell our stories.”

See more of what Starbuck’s is saying and the ads on their blog.

So, what is the story? At Starbuck’s, we make a mistake once but never twice?

I am disappointed that the message for the ads has to be driven by negative undertones. I understand they hope to drive social media to help by employing a Twitter promotion contest. And negative news is good news, but for an iconic brand who defined a category for so long to not see a positive message to push is concerning.

If you want a story, talk about heritage or the fair trade efforts that you have helped to implement for farmers or even the premium ingredients. This type of story is real and authentic vs. “just don’t buy the other guy’s stuff”.

Comments welcome!

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