Thursday, September 15, 2011

Starbucks Bounces Back? - New Campaign

I knew Starbucks would bounce back.

A big brand like that being under the radar for so long couldn't possibly stay there too long. Recently Starbucks launched a whole new campaign that reflects their outlook and the way they will be perceived to people again.

I don't claim to be an expert but let me try and explain.

Starbucks was on the line of fire after books like No Logo came out. Popular post modern socialism found a strong foothold among the American (and Europeans, and Kiwis) twenty-somethings who were getting distressed about their country's way of aggressive capitalist push forward. Here were young people with buying power (and a significant amount at that) who were getting all moral and conscientious furoring against ideas of multinational brands, cheap labour and international chain stores dominating over small local run enterprises.

Starbucks became the symbol of the anti-down-your-street-local-coffee-store. The faceless, heartless demon that would eat up anything on its way. And plus, the coffee they serve were pungent.

Any other cool boutique coffee house became that anti-starbucks place. Only teenagers in their lack of knowledge of coffeedom went there (S) and even balked about it.

Now this campaign.

I know this is an attempt to restore the genuine-ness of the brand. The leather. The shot composition, the almost obscured inclusion of the Starbucks takeaway cup. No sign of the logo. All implying on the human element, the warm intimate ideas that they now want to be associated with (and for good reason!). With this they are saying - we aren't all about taking over the world, we are about you having a good genuine time, forming genuine human relationships.

I am a creature of aesthetics and am easily befuddled by what I see. And I have to say this is a great ad! And almost convinces me to go to Starbucks. Almost.

Look at the tone and pace of this shot. S has taken a different turn. Suddenly it is no longer the plastic multi chain company that suffocates you - now it is donning this new look and saying in its American Seattle accent, "Come, you can have a really good time.. We want to hear your stories and meet you.."

I have a feeling very soon the change will start to reflect even in the S stores in Australasia too. Its high time they replaced their Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to something more less-conventional. Come on, those are so outdated!

I applaud Starbucks' move in this. It is a smart move. It is the only right move it can take.

I knew it would come and it is kind of predictable. But in saying that, this is all the most they can do.

At the end of the day, no matter what their brand identity is, they are what they are. American capitalistic multi national chain of leisure and lifestyle choice service brand - A chugging train, bounding down the track at top speed. It doesn't matter that they are playing soft music making you think they aren't as aggressive as they are. 

It will be interesting to see how they will fare with the blossoming hipster/organic spirits among the 20 somethings of late.

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