Oopsy, Starbucks

I may have spoken too soon about the great marketing at Starbucks. They should have seen this coming from a mile away. Totally preventable.

Update: Seth Godin's take

Comments (13)

  1. wine-oh says:

    How unusual for Starbucks. If it created foot traffic to their stores, they shouldnt have pulled it. If anything it would be a good experiment in seeing the reach of the coupon. I get discounts from friends who work at various companies (mostly discounts at outlet malls) and the companies want the coupons to be used.

    In other news, did anyone hear that Carolyn Kepcher of The Apprentice was fired this week by Donald Trump?  Wonder how she will re-brand her self or where she will go next. His kids have replaced her and George on the next edition which is taping in LA.

  2. BlakeHandler says:

    I don’t know — it kinda sounds like Microsoft’s recent promotion for a free USB memory stick?

    It happens to everyone.

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Wine-oh, totally agree. You got the traffic now do something with it.  Figure out how to make good on it even though it was unintentional. And then next time, consider how an e-mail coupon can get out of control if you don’t set some constraints.

    BlakeHandler- in the words of Rachel on Friends: "it is a big deal and it doesn’t happen to everyone!". It’s poor planning. I don’t accept it with a "happens to everyone" perspective. If it happened to us with some kind of USB promotion, then that was also poor planning (though I’ve not heard about that situation…I didn’t think we made USBs….I had to order mine from a third party). There’s the initial poor planning and then there’s the poor reaction once you have a problem without thinking through that the loss of brand love might be bigger than the loss of short term cold drink revenue. Bad marketing is bad marketing and it doesn’t happen to everyone.

    Don’t get me wrong, they are doing lots of things right. This just was not one of them.

  4. Margo says:

    *puts away internet coupon*


    (Just kidding)

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Well Peet’s is giving away stuff on Saturday in their new Redmond store if you are here. I will say that being in such close proximity to SBUX and knowing people that work there, I’m never at a loss for free coffee drinks. You get handed those SBUX cards a lot…which I totally appreciate.

    I can’t recall the last (or first) time I used an e-mail coupon. Seems I print them out and then they are past the expiration date. I guess now we know why ; )

  6. Ben Alonso says:


    It’s very interesting that just as you wonder how to improve the blog, the blog actually improves. I started reading your blog because I found it very interesting. Then your airplane snafu happened and your writing somehow changed. More reserved, less interesting to a point.

    However, your recent posts are excellent and I hope to continue reading more of your opinions. There’s a lot of value in your ideas in general.

    About, how you can improve the blog. You mentioned pod casts. I don’t think you’d require that much of an investment or training to be able to do it yourself. Sure the quality won’t be studio like. However, as long as the listener can understand, it shouldn’t be that difficult or expensive to put together.

    I’m sure that every few days you have a situation at work where you wonder is this a good topic to blog about. You can always blog about it without being specific.

    Your post on what not o say during an interview was great. You let the readers participate. All you needed was to write a paragraph and I’m certain there was a good degree of traffic and responses. Keep up the good writing.

    I truly enjoy your writing,

    Ben Alonso

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Ben, thanks for the feedback. You know I didn’t think that blogging about the airline incident impacted me that much, but I think you are right that it did. As much as I try to understand what kinds of blog posts people want, I am generally surprised at what people respond to (and what they respond negatively to). And sometimes it’s really hard to kind of put yourself out there and share your life away from the office and then have people (many anonymously) tell you that your blog post stinks or that there is something wrong with you. Famous people get paid a lot of money to have people critique them. Me, not so much…just a regular Microsoft employee. When the scale of feedback starts to tilt toward the negative (and let’s be clear…I’m naturally focused on what’s wrong, not what’s right….so it may not actually be tilting but who likes criticism?), I’m not particularly excited about blogging. I think maybe that is what you saw when my blogging got less interesting. And I am sure that I am feeling more sensitive today than normal. I’m tired.

    Some people like the personal posts, some people are annoyed by them. And because they don’t have to say it to my face, rules of decorum don’t apply. I get sick of the sound of my own voice…or the look of my own blogging. Whatever.

    I hadn’t consciously changed my blogging style after the luggage thing, but I guess I probably did. I guess it was a case of me being human (shhh, don’t tell anyone). I’m glad you told me though, because it does make me think about what I am writing and why it’s better some times than others. And the fact that when I am kind of fed up with blogging and maybe a little cranky about the prospect of having to do it, my posts might be a little more interesting. I think I’m better when I start a post without really having thought through it than when I am thinking "I need to blog about this, what am I going to say?". Most of the time, the posts that people respond to are the ones I find the most self indulgent and my inner voice is saying "shut up Heather!". Maybe it’s just because I haven’t yet changed out of my PJs today ; )

    Or maybe I am trying too hard sometimes? Though I think blogs were invented for people who try too hard. "Look at me! Look at me!"

    The one other hesitation I have with podcasting, that I haven’t mentioned yet,  is that it’s a little counter to my blogging style which is to kind of throw stuff up there…maybe walk away from it and come back. I suspect that in the podcasting world, I’d be the queen of dead air. I don’t know. I think I’m more impressive in ten point Arial. I don’t think that it’s just me being overly self-conscious but just that maybe I’m a better writer than I am talker. The words might sound better bouncing around my head or bouncing around a page instead of coming out of my mouth with lots of "ummms" in the middle.

    Perhaps I am just coming to a point where I need to decide what I am doing here (drama!). Is the need to change it up more energizing or just more work? I haven’t decided yet. I’ve seen people take a "blog vacation" and thought "whatever!", but I’m wondering if that is maybe what I need. I’m kind of at that point where I want to throw my hands up and ask someone to take the wheel while I take a nap in the back seat. You know what I mean?

    User generated content…who is up for that? I think you are right, Ben, that when people get involved in the posts, it’s more interesting. It’s more interesting for me too. I was just telling someone last night that my favorite thing about my blog is when I see 2 readers helping each other out. Sometimes I like to be the observer. I also tend to like to be the idea person but can get frustrated sometimes with implementation (details shmetails). Maybe I like the idea of the blog more than writing it.

    I think I need to go to the gym and get a big dose of attitude adjustment. College football season is coming none too soon for me…I need something else to focus on.

    I bet you didn’t realize that this was all the sub-text to the "make it bigger" issue, huh? Hee! I usually step away from the keyboard when I feel like this. Talk about self-indulgent!

    OK, OK, I know I’m being a bit of a drama queen today. Eh, I appreciate your insight quite a bit. I’m sure I’ll feel better about the prospect of it all come Tuesday morning. Thanks for the nice words Ben : ) Yo ugave me some good stuff to think about while I am on the treadmill!

  8. Hi Heather – Did you hear that Caribou Coffee, in response to the Starbucks misstep, offered consumers the chance to redeem these coupons at their stores?  What a smart way to try and get some current Starbucks customers to switch. 🙂

    We don’t have too many Caribou Coffee’s down here in South Florida – oh well – I love the marketing prowess anyway!

  9. Wine-Oh says:

    Ok so which "One Louder" reader sued Starbucks???? Mocha Grande Iced Decaf No Whip Cafe Latte’s for everyone!!!!


  10. HeatherLeigh says:

    Shannon-I agree…that was brilliant on their part. Hey, it was good meeting you in person this week!

    Wine-Oh, on one hand I wonder who could be so cheesed off over a coupon. On the other hand, I think there’s some accountability on the part of SBUX. This topic came up with co-workers as we were traveling this week and all agreed that they lost more by not honoring the coupon than they would have by serving up some free frappos.

  11. Wine-Oh says:

    Im with you Heather. They should have honored the coupon. Foot traffic in the door, and i am sure people would buy some food as well. Missed opportunity. Other companies ie Peets or Timothys or caribou should have jumped in and honored the coupons in their stores. The lawsuit though is frivolous. Nothing will come of it.

  12. HeatherLeigh says:

    Wine-Oh, see Shannon’s comment above. Apparently Caribou did just that.

  13. Wine-Oh says:

    Duh! Sorry I completely missed that. Ooops!

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