OOPS!
STARBUCKS' BRAND FAIL

Starbucks have finally ditched the Race Together campaign on its US coffee cups. But here’s why it was always doomed:

Brands are conversations but….


First and foremost, brands need to have permission. To have a relevant conversation, one that the customer initiates, the brand must have credibility in and authority on a subject matter (fair-trade, globalisation, homogenisation even? but race relations? Hmmm.) Obviously this is a particularly raw subject in the USA at the moment and much needs to be talked about and done, but Starbucks lacks the credibility to be the initiator of this particular conversation.

Second, context is everything – 7.30 in the morning queuing for a coffee on the way to work? = not a good time to talk about anything, let alone race. And its hard enough to be a good barista at that time, let alone a social commentator…

Third, if the intention is to encourage conversation between friends – i.e. 'a starter for ten like speed dating', then unfortunately Starbucks is as best being very clumsy in its understanding of relationships and what 'grabbing a coffee’ means…

Brand fail. BUT how they remedy this could yet be a brand win (maybe) if they acknowledge the mistake and move on…

Dan B