The Public Image

October 31, 2011 10:56 pm

The public image: Starbucks interactive rewards promotion

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Client: Starbucks
Agency: BBDO, Blast Radius, The Media Merchants
Territory: Canada
Verdict:

2 stars

Starbucks had the excellent idea of promoting its latest loyalty scheme by mounting an interactive, tablet-like screen on the front window of four outlets in Toronto and Vancouver.

Press one of the stars moving across the screen and up pops information on a reward – for example, a free coffee refill.

“They’re hoping to inform people in a very creative, functional way about the rewards programme,” says Brad Foster, chief marketing officer at The Media Merchants, which has provided similar technology for promotions by Hewlett-Packard and Kraft Foods’ Caramilk chocolate brand.

By fixing the screens to the outside window, Starbucks is especially targeting new customers.

If only it was that simple. Two cyclists waiting for a friend blocked the screen for 15 minutes on Yonge Street in Toronto at lunchtime last week. Glare from the sun made it hard to read.

There are no instructions. Numerous jabs yielded no results until a barista explained that only the few-and-far-between gold stars burst into a reward. The barista said the screen was great fun for passing children – presumably not quite the new customers Starbucks has in mind.

“Because We Love You Too ... ” is the slogan. Starbucks must work a little harder to prove it.

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