Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Starbucks Temporary Shut-Down... Brilliant? Pointless?

It was all over tv, print, and online media- Oh my god, Starbucks shut down for 3 and 1/2 hours!!! You may be sensing my sarcasm about the headlines... but the truth is, it caught my attention too.

Apparently the reason for the February 26th closing was for training to "re-focus on the employees who make and deliver the coffee." Critics say that it takes more than a couple of hours to train "baristas" to brew the best coffee and espresso. Probably true, but the branding genius who came up with this strategy knew that shutting down 7100 stores demonstrates a sincere effort to improving the Starbucks quality, and will cause quite a stir. Not a bad PR strategy, in fact, I am craving some coffee right now- not $tarbucks, though. My local independent coffee shop of choice...

One last note... according to the press there were several competitors taking advantage of the closing- Dunk 'n Donuts, McDonalds, and others offering discounts. Not sure if it was a coincidence, or a strategic, but when I went on the Today show website to watch the Starbucks video, Dunk 'n Donuts was the advertisement that played first. Could this have been intentional?

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