Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No coffee, video?

Since April, Starbucks has been offering a "pick of the week" - music and music videos available free on iTunes - to its customers. Well, to anyone who walks in and takes a "pick of the week" card, actually.

But, as per Starbucks' habit of coming up with nifty promotions and then not actually promoting them (which brings a whole new perspective to the concept of consumer marketing), no one really seems to know about it.

I had this conversation last week with one of the baristas when I asked if my venti iced coffee would be the same price as a grande if I bought it with my Starbucks card.

The cashier looked at me like I had two, maybe three, heads. I didn't make this promo up, mind you - I read it somewhere, and in a Starbucks too. Off he scuttled to find someone else to take care of my clearly outrageous request.

It turns out the promotion I read was for frappucinos only - but the manager (yes, this question required a manager) quite nicely offered to honor the promotion even on my lowly iced coffee. The conversation we had was even more interesting... no matter how hard he tries, he cannot seem to publicize effectively the various promotions and benefits that Starbucks offers to its customers. The little promo cards fall off (didja catch that? they're "little"), the managers aren't fully notified of new policies (such as the free soy and flavor syrup upgrades for Starbucks card users), and on and on. Hmph.

For all of Howard's claims to the contrary, and I don't really (ok, maybe I do a little) doubt he's trying, it's not really seeming like he means it.

But I did get Duffy's Mercy for free this week - so that's something, anyway.

Thanks, Howie.

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