Can Holiday Ad Bring Back Customers?

 - Nov 17, 2007
References: online.wsj
For the first time, Starbucks is launching a television commercial. The animated "Pass the Cheer" ads will air in an effort to counteract the just-released news that the coffee chain is suffering from a depreciating customer base.

For the first time in the company's history, customer traffic fell in the fourth quarter, a dangerous sign especially right before the holidays. Is Starbucks falling out of style? Will it not be the place to spend cold afternoons this winter? Maybe the ads that are "so holiday that it will blow you away," might actually save the brand.

"As we grow our stores, we're trying to reach out to this broader audience that maybe [has] not had a chance to experience Starbucks," said "CEO Jim Donald.

Seriously? I think that everyone living in a city with a Starbucks, that isn't entirely opposed to it, has been to one. Reasons for not liking Starbucks, according to those I've talked to, is due to the high prices. But I had to do a little research anyway. said its due to sentimental (killing off independent shops), political (fair trade policies) and the fact that it "has come to represent an insidious sort of big-business inexorability and a particular brand of 'lifestyle' marketing epitomized by the company's own chief product. They're not selling coffee so much as the 'Starbucks Experience.'"

It's true; it is the experience. Still, I'm quite surprised at this. This is the first report I've encountered entailing a dwindling customer base at Starbucks. As a self-professed addict, I have to say I haven't noticed any lack in customers, despite the price hikes this summer. I assume others, like myself, are willing to shell out he additional $0.09 to indulge in their vice.

Chairman Howard Schultz believes customers will stay loyal, and that once enough people see how fab Starbucks really is, with help from the TV ads, he has no doubt patrons will flock in again.

"As a national leader, we have an opportunity to make sure our voice is heard in the all-important media of TV. This is the beginning of a new opportunity for us," Schultz said. "We are up for the defense, and we will get on the offense."

The campaign airs Friday; let's see how successful it is!

Some random facts:
There are over 15,011 Starbucks store
An average of 6-7 new Starbucks cafes open daily
In the last year, over $1 billion was loaded onto Starbucks cards (and spent, too!)

Please note that the embedded commercial is NOT the new campaign, just a fun one I found on YouTube.