Starbucks Promo, Case study VIA READY BREW

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Industry Cafe
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Consumer Goods, including FMCG and Household Products
Advertiser: STARBUCKS
Product/Service: COFFEE
Director, Global Brand & Consumer Public Relations: Lara Wyss (Starbucks)
Manager, Consumer Public Relations: Sanja Gould (Starbucks)
Executive Vice President: Amy Kavanaugh (Edelman)
Senior Vice President: Jennifer Babbit Bodner (Edelman)
Senior Media Supervisor: Amy Hauser (Edelman)
Senior Account Manager: Angie Di Rezze (Edelman)
Account Executive: Ashley Oddi (Edelman)
Executive Vice President/Media Relations: Cheryl Cook (Edelman)
Senior Account Supervisor: Emily Killoren (Edelman)
Director: Emma Nicholson (Edelman)
Senior Account Executive: Evan Pham (Edelman)
Business Analyst, Strategy One: Jason Kingma (Edelman)
Account Supervisor: Kary Laskin (Edelman)
Account Executive: Kristin Hill (Edelman)
Vice President: Lindsay Garrison (Edelman)
Senior Vice President: Lisa Magnino (Edelman)
Senior Vice President: Suzy Kiwala (Edelman)
Vice President, Group Director: Tamra Strentz (Edelman)
Media placement: Test Market Launch: Chicago Sampling And Media Blitz - ABC,, Q13 Fox, Belltown Messanger, Etc. - 3 March 2009
Media placement: Local Market Launch: Seattle Media Blitz - The Seattle Times, KOMO 4, KIRO 7, 710 KIRO, KOMO 1000, Seattle PI, Etc. - 25 March 2009
Media placement: Local Market Launch: UK Media Blitz - The Independent, BBC World, The Evening Stadard,, Dailymail - 25 March 2009
Media placement: Influencer Outreach: Food & Wine Classic In Aspen - Influencer/attendee Tweets And Social Media Placements - 19-21 June 2009
Media placement: Influencer Outreach: Taste Of London - Influencer/attendee Tweets And Social Media Placements - 20 June 2009
Media placement: Influencer Outreach: Starbucks VIA Chicago Mixology Challenge - The Seattle Times, Seattle PI, Daily Candy Seattle, Culinary Fool, Seattlest, Do - 20 August 2009
Media placement: North America Launch Business Announcement - Reuters, Fox Business News, MarketWatch, Trading Markets, The Puget Sound Busine - 31 August 2009
Media placement: Starbucks VIA Road Trip - Seattle Post Intelligencer, Advertising Age, The Seattle Times, Helena Independe - 15-29 September 2009
Media placement: North America (U.S. And Canada) Launch - GMA, Jay Leno, Reuters, CNN, The Daily Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, Assoc - 29 September 2009
Media placement: National Taste Challenge In-Store Event -, The View, Q100 Atlanta, The OC Register, WTVJ NBC Miami, Et - 2-5 October 2009

Summary of the Campaign
As the largest announcement in company history, it was paramount to communicate how the launch of Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew, an instant coffee as satisfying and rich as a traditional cup of Starbucks-quality brew, extended the premium brand experience through packaged goods and established a groundbreaking new standard in an entrenched product category. Starbucks had to demonstrate how Starbucks VIA strategically aligned with the overall brand, deepening the company’s position as the leading coffee authority and enriching daily coffee rituals. To do this, the agency spearheaded a multi-tiered media, influencer and consumer engagement campaign over a nine month period to prepare audiences and announce the test market and national rollouts of Starbucks VIA. A successful multi-phase and segmented campaign succeeded in changing public expectations and measurably driving consumer trial of Starbucks new product entry. According to Starbucks Q1 FY2010 earnings report, the retail launch of Starbucks VIA in North America drove nearly half of the increase in the average value per transaction. Coffee lovers will never again be without great coffee.

The Goal
1. Reset expectations. Create excitement about Starbucks VIA before nationwide launch to earn influencer support for Starbucks decision to broaden the consumer coffee experience. 2. Drive consumer trial and brand engagement. Generate consumer demand for Starbucks VIA through hosted influencer and sampling events at local and national levels. 3. Solidify Starbucks reputation as leading coffee authority. Leverage Starbucks VIA consumer media coverage to reinforce Starbucks brand dominance and the global opportunity for Starbucks to reinvent the soluble coffee category.

1. RESET INFLUENCER EXPECTATIONS: • Secured attendance and endorsements from 150+ influencers at Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and New York City preview events. • “I liked the instant better than the brewed.”– Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, 9/29/09. 2. STIMULATED CONSUMER TRIALS: • Drove 240,000+ sample requests to within 36 hours. • 27,000+ attendees sampled product at 25+ influencer events and 11,000+ stores drove Taste Challenge trials. • Ranked among top Amazon sellers over the 2009 holiday season for net sales and customer satisfaction. • “... [Tried] the challenge.... And every time, I got it wrong…didn't see that coming.” – Tightwad Tod, Consumer Reports “Money Blog,” 10/08/09. 3. SOLIDIFIED REPUTATION: • Secured 3,100+ media placements and 600+ million impressions in target outlets like USA Today, AP, Good Morning America and SlashFood. • Generated 74 percent message pull-through overall and 20 percent message penetration spike around the national launch.

1. CONTEXT & CONSIDERATION a. National Starbucks VIA unveil (Feb.) • Preview events with CEO for top consumer, culinary and business media, analysts and influencers to secure widespread coverage and awareness. 2. AWARENESS. a. Test Market Launches (Mar. – Aug.) • Consumer media blitz to announce product availability and maintain momentum. • Consumer preview events and collaboration with local influencers to generate buzz and drive purchases. b. Media Engagement (Mar. and Sept.) • Strategic outreach to consumer and business press. • Mitigate negativity through rapid-response team. c. National Road Trip (Sept.) • Created YouTube webisodes to showcase portability of product and drive online conversation. 3. TASTE & TRIAL a. Influencer Sampling (Feb. – Sept.) • Major national and local events: Fashion Week, Oscars, Top Chef, etc. • Ambassador program to evangelise product across lifestyle groups. b. National Taste Challenge (Sept. – Oct.) • Customer outreach to drive store traffic, awareness and product trial.

The Situation
For more than 20 years Starbucks worked to develop an instant coffee that would deliver the same great taste and quality of Starbucks coffee. Finally, in 2009, Starbucks was ready to launch Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew into a leading position within the $21 billion global soluble coffee market. North American coffee lovers, unlike their international counterparts, are less familiar with or less apt to adopt the instant variety according to Mintel Research International. Starbucks set out to convince key consumer audiences that its new Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew instant coffee could shatter preconceptions and impress taste buds.

The Strategy
To showcase Starbucks VIA as a high-quality, premium product we developed a strategy to build buzz and drive momentum through each launch phase, mirroring the steps for brewing the perfect cup of coffee: • START FRESH: Preview product with key influencer groups to build awareness and gain support through various events. • SHAKE: Provoke industry dialogue and establish credibility through experts who recognize the business opportunity for Starbucks in the soluble coffee category. • POUR: Generate consistent and robust media coverage through national, local and online results to reestablish Starbucks coffee authority and showcase demand for Starbucks VIA. • STIR: Stimulate excitement through experiential consumer events and influencer programs to spur endorsements online and offline, while also mitigating inaccuracies and negative commentary through rapid-response press engagement. • DRINK: Invite consumers to sample Starbucks VIA for themselves at in-store taste tests and on the Starbucks VIA Road Trip tour.