Starbucks Turns Its Promotional Muscle Towards Films

from the lifestyle-indeed dept

It’s no secret that Starbucks wants to move well beyond its image as a ubiquitous “coffee” shop into much more of a “lifestyle” brand. The company has been getting much more involved in entertainment lately, and found success promoting music CDs, such as those by Ray Charles and Bob Dylan. The latest, however, is that the company is harnessing its promotional power for a new film. First, they’ll avoid the big posters and cardboard cutouts of stars that you might be expecting. Instead, they’re going to send most of their employees to special pre-screenings of the movie to generate word of mouth buzz. There will be some in-store promotions, but they’ll be more subtle. Frequent customers can win tickets as well. The cardboard cupholders will advertise the film, as will the WiFi splash page for those who use Starbucks’ WiFi. And, of course, the store will sell the soundtrack and (eventually) the DVD of the movie. That’s quite a lot of effort, so you probably won’t be surprised to find out that this isn’t just about the studio giving Starbucks a lump sum. Instead, the company gets a piece of just about everything: “an undisclosed percentage of all box office sales, merchandise sales, TV revenues and soundtrack and DVD sales — even from non-Starbucks retail locations.” While a Starbucks spokesperson claims “it is important to note that we are not investing in films,” that’s really just semantics. They are very much investing in the film — just not cash. They’re investing their considerable promotional muscle for a percentage of the take. That certainly seems like investing — but it may also make you wonder if you can really trust the movie recommendations you get as you stand in line for your next Venti Latte or whatever you’re supposed to call the “coffee” they serve there these days.

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Comments on “Starbucks Turns Its Promotional Muscle Towards Films”

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? says:


What are the studios smoking? This has got to be a desperation move.

The studios don’t need MORE promotion. They need better business practices. I don’t know of anybody that isn’t aware of what movies are playing.

Nobody that I know avoids the theaters because they don’t know what is playing. They avoid the theaters because either the movie sucks gay cowboy ass, or the movie just isn’t worth the money and effort of see in a public theater.

The movies that happen to be worth the trouble are few and far between in my book, and as an economist, I can say that there are a lot of people who agree with me (if not for the exact same reasons, they at least agree that it isn?t worth going to the theater).

Those MBA’s and investors in Hollywood need to pull out their first year economics text books and remind themselves how “utility” works (
And re-think the way they are conducting business.

ZOMG CENSORED (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Starbuck is gay anyways. They’ll do anything to gay themselves out.

So, let’s see if I have this right…

Starbucks has sex with other Starbucks of the same gender despite being asexual and inanimate? That’s some task indeed… Unless of course you meant it in the “jovial” sense of the word 😀


Anyway, I usually only go there for the iced tea while I’m looking at books at the book store (Chapters has Starbucks built-in like Wal Mart has McDonald’s built-in), but I can’t really say that this will work out too well… Most people seem to be far too concerned with getting their shit and getting out before the pretentiousness gets to them…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

“Starbucks has sex with other Starbucks of the same gender despite being asexual and inanimate?”

How else do explain the growing number of starbucks? They have to come from somewhere.

Back to the original point, there is no way that a coffee shop is going to influence what movies I see. First of all, I refuse to go to a theater do to outragious prices, crappy seats and that freakin guy that sits behind you and talks the entire movie. If you don’t know who that guy is, it is YOU. Second, there hasn’t been a “must see” new release that I couldn’t wait for the DVD to come out. the studios need to stop worrying about advertising and start consentrating on quality. enough said.

ONe more thing: Gay Cowboys? Where was the pudding? I thought all gay cowboys ate pudding.

? says:

Re: Yeehaw!

The point isn’t sexual orentation. I could have said “sucked straight cowboy ass” or just “sucked” or “stunk” or “was aweful” or or or, and the main idea wouldn’t have changed any.

But alas, I chose “gay cowboy ass” since Hollywood recently featured a movie that is something along those lines, and gay cowboy ass sucking is funnier than sucking in general.

By the looks of it, most people understand that.


pabell says:

Re: Re: Yeehaw!

“But alas, I chose “gay cowboy ass” since Hollywood recently featured a movie that is something along those lines, and gay cowboy ass sucking is funnier than sucking in general.”

Ok take Gay out of the equation the movie Still Sucked!

“By the looks of it, most people understand that.”

I knew what you were trying to convey 😉

Rob says:

Starbucko Studios

Just make good stories. Get good actors who keep their mugs out of the news, and out of jail, and you never know. Also, do the math, make the movies 5 starbuck dollars and everyone will go back to the theatres, AND, if you make good movies we’ll go more than once!

Small record stores should start selling coffee so they can keep the butts in business!

ptl (user link) says:

Apples and Oranges

What’s interesting here is that SB is gambling or “investing” as the article states. With the music CDs they tote, it’s of a proven artist with proven songs for the most part.

However with this movie, while the actors my be known names, we all know that many a know actor has made a stinker of a film or three.

I like the idea of Starbucks doing the CDs. It was like “hey, you like our coffee, you’ll probably like these tunes…” Not TOO much of a stretch there. They know their audience.

With films it’s a whole different thing altogether. Risky? You bet! If the film’s a stinker or no one shows up, their rep as an advisor or “tastefuly cool things” is tarnished if not destroyed.

Thomas says:

Re: Apples and Oranges

Actually it sounds like starbucks is trying to promote the movie without really associating their name with it. The whole idea of paying for all their staff to go to pre-screenings is probably going to be the most successful part of the campaign. I trust someone with similar tastes who has seen a movie a lot more than what some advertising schmuk has put together. The employees at the pre-screenings probably wouldn’t even mention starbucks when telling friends/family if the movie sucked or was great, thus removing the starbucks brand from the equation. It’s an interesting idea for marketing and while I dislike the philosophy of starbucks I am interested to see how this turns out.

? says:

Re: Dumb enough

I guess many are “dumb enough” otherwise there wouldn’t be a Starbuck on every other street corner.

Back to the point, my question is, what happens when the movie does suck? Does the barista talk about how much the movie sucked and say “But it might be worth renting”?

The cd sales work because they play the music that they sell.

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