Starbucks Reusable Cups – Fiasco or pure marketing genius?

What a storm was created this week in the United States with the release of special edition Starbucks Reusable Cups. With a whiz bang advertising campaign, Starbucks let people know that they could pick up their free reusable cup with any order and then use it again for their next order to get a discount for using their Starbucks Reusable Cup.

Sounds a great idea – What’s the Problem?

With any large organisation, keeping up with the times and adopting environmentally friendly practices over perceived profit will always be a winner with the consumer…..except in this case. It was reported that many of the Starbucks stores only had 25 of these free reusable cups in stock.

Now when you run a marketing campaign within any large organisation, you would like to think that you have everything in place to ensure the campaign runs smoothly. Unfortunately for the consumers, it did not and the jungle drums started beating on social media. Many Starbuck customers vented their anger on social media and rightfully so. With ordering their beverage ahead, many were expecting their morning coffee in their newly purchased Starbuck’s reusable cup. With most, that was not to be, with many consumers leaving comments a little less on the complimentary side.

Did Starbucks really stuff this campaign up?

Upon reflection, I thought to myself, hang on, these guys are professionals in this field. There is no way this would have been some stuff-up by some intern, or someone putting a few less zero’s on a purchasing order.

Starbucks, I believe have devised an absolute brilliant plan to ensure that their marketing campaign around the Starbucks Reusable Coffee Cup has the most depth it can achieve. Sure, we may peeve-off a few consumers in the first instance (and as a side note, drive sales for 1 day, which is a nice little bonus nationally), but when it was advertised yesterday by Starbucks that consumers can now purchase their special reusable cups for $2.50 and save on their purchasers through the holiday season if they bring them back in for refills, all was now forgiven by the consumer….well most anyway.

You see there is no better way to get lots of moss on a rolling stone than creating a mini-disaster by only just letting some out for free and then releasing the rest for purchase. Marketing genius.

Not only has social media got around this one, but national papers are also reporting on it. Fantastic way of saving a few dollars advertising with the print media.

Long Term…..?

Do Starbucks really care about the environment? Will the Starbucks Reusable cup become a treasured reusable cup for the consumers that they will use without fail, every time they purchase a Starbucks product. Will the consumer use their reusable Starbucks coffee cup to purchase a coffee from another coffee place.

Personally, I’m not completely sold by Starbucks move in this regard from an environmental angle. Sure, it seems on the surface that they are taking an environmentally responsible stance with the release of these reusable cups, but it reeks to me of well managed marketing campaign to drive sales over the holiday period and re-enforce their brand by having these reusable cups out in the market place.

I may be being a little cynical, but I guess, I’m just using logic. Let’s hope I’m wrong.






4 Replies to “Starbucks Reusable Cups – Fiasco or pure marketing genius?”

  1. This most definitely is quite the brilliant marketing fiasco. As a large corporation they can certainly afford to have a bit of bad press to bring in more money out of it. And who are we kidding, are the customers really going to go elsewhere for coffee for this reason only? I personally don’t think so. 

    So In the end, it’s a win win for Starbucks. 

    Quite the interesting read.

  2. Big companies pay big money for their advertising.  Their budgets per year are worth more than I make in ten years and quite frankly I think this was a genius move by Starbucks.  Its going to get them a lot of great press which turns into big sales.  Doesn’t matter that after a little while no one will remember the cause.

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