Thursday, March 10

Starbucks 40th Anniversary

When Starbucks announced its new logo earlier this year, they said that it was just the start of something big. We got all a twitter about it, but I for one thought it was a bold move. The brand appeared to be expanding beyond just coffee, and was certainly trying to create a more iconic identity. Or so it seemed to me.

Well it's the brand's 40th Anniversary and the celebration is kicking into gear.

This week we saw the new cups with the new logos finally hit the marketplace -- and the launch of a new drink (cocoa cappuccino) -- and the introduction of a series of small snacks called Petites.

But most exciting for me is the new television spot. I've personally never seen a television campaign from the brand and this is a winner. Not so much because of the creative (not particularly breakthrough at all), but because of the messaging -- and the continuation of the promise that the brand has made to us this year.

"You are more important than you know," is the theme -- tied to self esteem and also, by the way, to the success of the brand. Complete with an offer to try the Petites for free in honor of the 40th Anniversary. Most important -- the introduction of the ultimate brand reposition -- "It's Bigger Than Coffee."

Check it out here.

My point -- the brand promised a big evolution this year, starting with a new logo, and they sure seem to be living up to it. So far. Could Starbucks be doing more? Absolutely. But it really is much much bigger than coffee -- literally with the range of products but also emotionally with how the brand has infiltrated our lives. Every single day.


What's your experience? Jim.

(on a side note, I've seen a lot of the stores going through renovation this year as well)


  1. So the Petites showed up at my local Starbucks this morning...and when I asked my barista (notice I said "my" barista, I'm obviously a brand champion for Starbucks - Starbucks has become my "3rd place") what they thought, they were able to tell me. In other words, Starbucks clearly had the baristas sample both the Petites and the new coffee so that they could speak about it with personal experience. How many companies forget that simple step with their frontline staff?

    By the way, I noticed that Starbucks and Green Mountain struck a deal on single-cup coffee. Awesome.

    P.S. Great blog Jim!

  2. Thanks Jim! I went in this morning, as usual, but didn't get a Petite. Everything else about the promo was live in-store, but no Petites. Of course, I didn't ask either. But you are right, retail execution is critical to a continuous brand experience. Thanks for commenting. Jim.

  3. In the past few weeks I’ve done some research on the Starbucks’40 anniversary and changes, I found some pretty interesting information. I first read a USA Today interview of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (, The article showed how the Starbucks’ “Experience Effect” starts with leadership from the very top. In the article I noticed constant branding in theme, so I decided to Google Starbucks’ mission statement. This is where it gets interesting, according to, their mission is: To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. It also lists the following principles: “Our Coffee, Our Partners, Our Customers, Our Stores, Our Neighborhood, Our Shareholders.” Lastly, I read the following Knowledge@Wharton article ( It mentioned how the company wanted to expand beyond coffee and also into the Chinese and Indian markets as some of the reasons for dropping the words from the logo. Although I personally like the new logo, I think it’s a bold move because: 1. Coffee is one of Starbucks principles/pillars and the world likes American pop culture which includes words. 2. Coffee has a social component (Let’s have a cup of coffee), which is consistent with Starbuck’s branding message. Either way, the new logo has given a great company some good buzz.
    P.S. Good piece of trivia-- Starbucks’ mermaid was selected as a nod to the seafaring nature of the coffee business. Starbuck, was the first mate character on the whale ship depicted in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (

  4. Oscar - I think I've found an even bigger fan than me! Thanks so much! Jim.