November 2007

The new season of red products at Starbucks no longer portray both US and Canadian $ prices. Smart move, that. Here’s another move: 

When I saw – for the first time – outdoor advertising for Starbucks last year (seasonal beverages in Vancouver), I was surprised that the marketers at the green mermaid had shifted their mix to pedestrian advertising. At the time I guessed it was a local, cultural thing, and parked it for future reference. Now, however, a blitz of seasonal TV ads is about to hit national screens, initially in the US. Wieden & Kennedy, the agency that transported those other west coast Americana brands Nike and Microsoft around the world, is tasked with developing a global brand message for the red cup parade. As quoted in today’s Advertising Age, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz feels the whole advertising thing is a natural evolution to gain increased leverage. Oh well then. Certainly as the brand reaches maturity, markets saturate, share prices fall and competitors step in to cross the chasm, Starbucks feels the heat to reinvent itself, its offering, or its target audience. Does this herald a mermaid branded burger? 

Personally I feel that Starbucks would be well advised to offer free wifi in its stores. This may not induce users to double up on their caffeine intake, but it would certainly fill the seats and send out the signal to open another Starbucks just over the road.

After yesterday’s successful premonition of doom and gales, woke up to third power outage of the season and spent entire day wifi-hopping from one Blenz to another. Highly annoying that many of the other 190,000 or so individuals without power were also dodging 90 kph winds and falling trees on the same elbow-grinding rampage to find a vacant socket & seat, while grin and bearing the beverages and empty calorie leftovers. Even so, my email inbox was unusually quiet, with not even the double-barrelled spam’ers seeming to have much luck with the climate. Now there’s a thought: are spam’ers eligible for public holidays? Are any of us entitled to reclaim a public holiday when storms and downed electricity cables wreck havoc with our plans for the day? Do those companies that give employees the freedom to take Remembrance Day as a holiday or put it towards the year-end celebrations also allow their employees to take today as a storm day? Do BC Hydro power fixers earn holiday overtime to clear the debris, and is this all part of a bigger conspiracy? What of all those Federal public warnings to stock up on water, mini generators and spare batteries? Are we about to face a winter of more than soap opera discontent? Better grind those coffee beans…