Wednesday, July 11

Starbucks Refreshers

Big brand Starbucks made a big time announcement this week, entering a whole new category of beverages with its new Refreshers line.

It first caught my attention over the weekend with a full page teaser ad in USAToday announcing "the biggest thing in coffee is coming" which doesn't really have coffee.  Hmmm, love a good teaser campaign.

Turns out, of course, that there is a twist.  This new beverage doesn't have "roasted coffee" but uses green coffee bean extract to get the caffeine without the roasted coffee flavor.  Very interesting.  I'm not a coffee lover but I am trying to avoid diet sodas and I need a little burst of caffeine in the morning.  I've never really embraced tea and the energy drinks just have never appealed to me.  What's a boy to do?  I drink lattes with loads of Splenda and a squirt of vanilla to cover the coffee and hopefully get me going in the morning.

So along comes Refreshers which seems like it's meant to fill my need gap.  Interesting to note that this new introduction ties in beautifully with how Starbucks is evolving its brand definition.  With a new logo at the beginning of last year, the word "coffee" dropped off of the branding.  Starbucks isn't really about "coffee" per se, and the brand's actions and activities are certainly playing to that.  Of course, the brand doesn't stray too far from coffee-like-things obviously, with caffeinated drinks that still deliver a core functional (and a Starbucks unique emotional) benefit.

The stores are now decked out in Refreshers graphics along with the words:  Reinvent, Recharge, Refresh.

The Refreshers line is available across all of the Starbucks formats including the Via instant route, single serve cans, or prepared "fresh" by the Baristas.  Bravo!

Even tried one on my way to work today and I have to say that it satisfied.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

PS - Also interesting to note that many Starbucks locations were giving away free "tall" cups of coffee on the 4th of July.  Good way to promote patriotism and brand loyalty, something the brand does on many holiday occasions.


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