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Starbucks is looking to Twitter to combat falling sales in its massive network of stores. The coffee giant is launching a new ad campaign that hopes to leverage its massive numbers of followers and fans online to get to their friends and acquaintances.

According to The New York Times:

"The coffeehouse chain is putting up new advertising posters in six major cities. To further spread its message, it is trying to harness the power of online social networking sites by challenging people to hunt for the posters on Tuesday and be the first to post a photo of one using Twitter."

The ads are meant to emphasize the quality of Starbucks coffee and the company's overall attention to detail. One tagline will read: “If your coffee isn’t perfect, we’ll make it over. If it’s still not perfect, you must not be in a Starbucks.”

This will be the biggest marketing campaign that Starbucks has undertaken, and comes just as McDonald's has joined the market with McCafé, it's own line of higher end coffee products. McDonald's has reportedly spent $100 million on television, print, radio, billboard ads to promote these new products.

But Starbucks' campaign generally plans to avoid traditional advertising, hoping to make use of the company's ardent base of followers online. From to The Times:

"Starbucks says it thinks its campaign will be helped by its 1.5 million fans on Facebook and 183,000 followers on Twitter. On the Saturday before the presidential election, Starbucks sponsored a single 60-second television commercial on “Saturday Night Live” advertising a coffee giveaway on Election Day. Starbucks then posted the video online. By Tuesday, it was the fourth-most-viewed video on YouTube, and people were mentioning Starbucks on Twitter every eight seconds."

Starbucks certainly has a large base to exploit for online marketing, but aggressively marketing through them may not be such a good idea. While many Twitterers will be more than happy to send a tweet or two in exchange for a free coffee, the friends receiving those messages might not be so amused.

And if Starbucks alienates potential new customers and others that they are hoping to bring back into the fold, the whole thing will be for naught, no matter how much money they saved by avoiding traditional ad venues.

Meghan Keane

Published 20 May, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Rob Mclaughlin

Rob Mclaughlin, VP, Digital Analytics at Barclays

Twitterers have their own reputation to manage - if they believe that their followers will stomach Starbucks related tweats then they will post them.

It is trust and reputation that allows you to build a network of followers both on and offline - simple as that. If Twitterers want to bring Starbucks into their networks of trusting individuals then the coffee company will benefit by association.

over 7 years ago

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Josh

Given that it's been publicly announced that Starbucks will do advertising campaigning on Twitter, which means people are aware that they'll be doing that...  Couldn't that just put people off by being in their face more?

over 7 years ago

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srdha

i gust want to say some thing "great job"

Update your Twitter randomly according to your intrest Or, from Rss Feed Or, from your own tweet message list Or, Any combination of the above three http://feedmytwitter.com

over 7 years ago

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