Starbucks is involving the Twitter community in an online photography scavenger hunt, offering prizes of Starbucks Gold Cards for Twitterers who can photograph posters from the most recent US outdoor campaign and post them online including the phrase #top3percent rules. The campaign is being pushed on the Starbucks Twitter channel, followed by 184,363 Twitterers. Already the first three photos have been spotted on Twitter, with prizes going to youLukas, LandyRue and EvilChick. See the Starbucks blog for details.
The Twitter fun contest is part of a fresh marketing campaign launched this month in United States newspapers and magazines. The campaign is described by Starbucks as the biggest marketing effort it has undertaken. Phrases on the posters take a dig at the competition, including “We think making coffee is an art form. They think it’s a new revenue stream.”
Claire Cain Miller at The New York Times observes that the Starbucks campaign coincides with a major advertising blitz by McDonald’s promoting its new line of McCafé coffee drinks. Representatives of Starbucks respond by saying they’re in danger of losing custom due to the financial crisis. However, the tone of the ads certainly suggests the Starbucks campaign is contrasting quality with cheapness.
The idea for the Starbucks photo contest came from watching what people already do on Facebook and Twitter, said Chris Bruzzo, vice president for brand, content and online at Starbucks. Each year, people race to post the first photos of Starbucks shops decorated in red for the holidays, he said, and on Flickr, people vie to post photos that include multiple Starbucks stores in the same shot.
Starbucks’s text-heavy ads have bold headlines written on a background that looks like a burlap coffee sack, meant to evoke roasted coffee, said David Lubars, chief creative officer of BBDO North America, the agency that created the campaign and part of the Omnicom Group.