Starbucks goes after Big Gulp crowd with new “trenta”

Quoth the Washington Post:

The new, nearly quart-size cups — meant only for iced coffee and tea — are available in 14 states starting today, and everyone, everywhere, should be able to indulge by early May. As the National Journal has pointed out with a handy chart, you will be indulging in a drink larger than most stomachs.

Trenta is Italian for 30 so it only makes sense that *$ new supersized drink contains … 31 ounces. (What’s wrong with Trentuno?)  Is anyone going to say, “Trenta-size me.”

Trenta joins other words repurposed by *$ like

  • Venti – “fan” (French),  “wait” (Danish & Norwegian), 20 (Italian)
  • Grande – “seniors" (French) or large (Spanish, Catalan, Italian)
  • Tall – “I’m broke but want to hang out here anyway.”

Don’t know what they’ll charge for this beast but it shouldn’t be much more than a re-negotiated mortgage payment.


US interrogators say Starbucks is better than torture

From a Washington Post story:

The Bush administration announced yesterday that it intends to bring capital murder charges against half a dozen men allegedly linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, based partly on information the men disclosed to FBI and military questioners without the use of coercive interrogation tactics.

The admissions made by the men — who were given food whenever they were hungry as well as Starbucks coffee at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — played a key role in the government’s decision to proceed with the prosecutions, military and law enforcement officials said.

“So which will it be: waterboarding or a venti latte with extra cinnamon on top?”

I want someone to use this in an ad campaign!!!!

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You read it here first: Starbucks gets bad press for denying Romenesko a custom card

As loyal readers recall, last month Starbucks turned down a customized card for Jim Romenesko. Romenesko runs two blogs: StarbucksGossip and MediaNewsthe online water cooler for journalists. At the time I wrote:

It’s not like Romenesko is Someone Not To Be Messed With. He’s just someone who gets a lot of influential readers. He’s more like Someone I Hope I Didn’t Inadvertently Do Something Stupid To. No doubt some of those MediaNews readers wander over to the Starbucks site. No doubt some of them will love a story about big company being dumb.

The fish. The gun. The smoking barrel, courtesy of the Seattle Times:

Starbucks does not welcome all forms of personalization. The webmaster of was stopped by company censors when he tried to order a card with his Web site’s name.

“Something like ‘Fluffy is my favorite cat’ might get approved,” Jim Romenesko wrote on his site.

A Starbucks spokeswoman said the company’s policy is to avoid anything that would offend baristas or harm the brand.

“The term ‘gossip’ could be deemed offensive or harmful to our brand,” Lisa Passé explained.

That might explain why got its name on a Starbucks card when did not.

A correct prediction AND we have a new entrant into the Great Names in Marketing Hall of Fame: Lisa Passé! I LOVE 2008!

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Starbucks figures out how to get the most bad publicity for the buck

starbuckYesterday Jim Romenesko was rejected by America’s favorite drug dealer in his attempt to get a Customized Starbucks Card plugging one of his blogs. The card would have said: Check out It was nixed because it didn’t conform to the company’s personalization policy, doubtless enforced by a computer program or someone at the bottom of the corporate ladder.

Two things you need to know about the site and Romenesko:

  1. The site is pretty damn neutral. StarbucksNews would be a better description. It reports on the latest food items and the latest attitudes from the coffee servers. Romenesko, by all appearances, likes Starbucks. He seems to be at one nearly everyday. (This is what happens when you work by yourself. My local dealer is CafeNation.)
  2. He is also proprietor of the MediaNews site at This site, devoted to news about journalism, is the media’s online watering hole. Everyone reads it. As with any industry-specific news site, it is probably incredibly dull if you aren’t in said industry. (Romenesko’s pay for this site is said to be in the six-figures. It is money well spent.)

It’s not like Romenesko is Someone Not To Be Messed With. He’s just someone who gets a lot of influential readers. He’s more like Someone I Hope I Didn’t Inadvertently Do Something Stupid To. No doubt some of those MediaNews readers wander over to the Starbucks site. No doubt some of them will love a story about big company being dumb.

In case they didn’t think this was a story, the MediaNews types can also read responses from people defending the company’s action.

The policy is reasonable. Don’t take it so personally. Starbucks is trying to protect their brand and that means not allowing any website (whether it’s, or to use this service to create advertising materials that look as if they were sanctioned and endorsed by Starbucks.

Which would be a feasible defense if a site called CelebrityStarbucks hadn’t got one of the damn cards with its name on it. Personalization, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

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Asleep at the wheel in Seattle

Apparently Nike and Starbucks have sucked up all the marketing expertise in the Northwest US. The complete inability to find a qualified marketing professional is the only explanation I have for both the recently canceled Washington state tourism slogan of “SayWA” and the newly unveiled and soon to be canceled Seattle tourism slogan, “Metronatural.” Best quote from the story:

“How do you use that in a sentence? ‘Welcome to Metronatural.’ … It’s an airport where you can buy organic bananas.” — Seattle street cart vendor Kenny Telasco.

Y’know guys, you might want to ask Mr. Telasco for a few pointers next week when you’re looking for Metronatural’s replacement The Seattle Convention & Visitor’s Bureau launched this turkey over the weekend after taking 16 months and spending $200K to come up with it. While I have not yet determined the name of the agency behind this slogan, I would not be surprised to find out if it was an arm of Haliburton.

Wait … actual reporting at work … from (hard to believe that domain wasn’t already in use):

SCVB led Seattle’s brand development initiative over the course of more than year, drawing critical input and support from a broad-based steering committee comprised of representatives from the City of Seattle, Port of Seattle, local hotels, airlines, attractions, restaurants, cultural organizations, SCVB members and many other travel industry stakeholders. Seattle-based branding and advertising firm EXCLAIM served as the creative partner and introduced the metronatural logo and brand concept.

If Metronatural was the winner, I’d love to see the losers. Key question: What the hell was in the coffee they were drinking when they OK’d this one?

Headline of the day: Study finds caffeine abuse among young Americans

At first glance this definitely fell into the “No Kidding” category, but it turns out

The American College of Emergency Physicians said a review of records at the Illinois Poison Center in Chicago found more than 250 cases of medical complications from ingesting caffeine supplements, 12 percent of them requiring hospitalization, including treatment in intensive-care units. The average age of those who had abused caffeine supplements over the course of the three years studied was 21. The research did not involve caffeine drinks such as coffee or cola.

Which is too bad because I am still waiting for someone to do a study about rates of caffeinated beverage drinking among the young and whether the age when the drinking of said beverages is decreasing. Specifically I’m talking about coffee cuz it seems to me I see 11 & 12 year olds at Starbucks pretty regularly. That’s so wrong. Because it means I have to wait longer in line. And besides with what Starbucks is charging these days I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get mugged by some pre-pubescent so hard up for a triple pumpkin cappuccino fix that if he doesn’t get one RIGHT NOW he’s going to break in to my house and make it so I can’t use my computer and then sue me for the case of carpal-tunnel he gets while doing this. Further proof that caffeine should only be used by the old and tired. Write your congressman now! Let’s get the TSA in on this one … uh oh … caffeine crash …

(BTW, thanks to adfreak for the graphic…)

I know the easiest place to get a grande soy latte. Wanna bet?

Las Vegas. Yep, the city of sin has more Starbucks per capita than any other city in the US, according to this oddly fascinating list at CityTownInfo. While Las Vegas may not exactly be the locale the brand most wants to be associated with, it is the locale the bottom line most wants to be associated with.

The top 15:

  1.  Las Vegas
  2.  Seattle
  3.  Portland
  4.  Sacramento
  5.  Washington
  6.  Denver
  7.  Atlanta
  8.  San Francisco
  9.  San Diego
  10.  Cincinnati
  11.  Pittsburgh
  12.  Honolulu
  13.  Colorado Springs
  14.  Boston
  15.  San Jose

Most of this makes sense but … Sacramento is 4th? Colorado Springs is more densely Starbucked than Boston or San Jose? Mrs. Collateral Damage believes this is because Dunkin’ Donuts has so thoroughly colonized Boston that there just wasn’t much space left for *$. Makes sense to me.

And what is the largest, most heavily populated area of the US without a Starbucks? Hint, it’s 47 square miles large and attracts more than 16 million people a year. Yep, Disney World. So if you want a Starbucks free vacation experience …

Study: Coffee makes advertising better

Consumerist notes that we can expect the US to invade Brazil at any moment as the price of coffee looks to be going up for the next few years. Hope this one works out better than the war for lower gas prices has. 

This looks to have a radical impact on the marketing biz as Aussie scientists (Oz Boffins?) have discovered that nothing will cement a sale like a cup of java. Quoth the other ABC (Australian Broadcast Corp):

Researchers say a caffeine hit improves our ability to process information and increases the extent to which we listen to and take on board a persuasive message. 

The Boffins say companies "should schedule adverts for times when people are likely to be consuming caffeine, such as breakfast time." But that's only if you have a convincing argument. If you're trying to sell a bunch of crap than you want to get people when they're going on a java bender.

Drinking too much coffee, however, means we are more likely to be distracted by peripheral factors, rather than the strength of the argument. "So if you're looking at an advertisement you may be more distracted by the attractiveness of the person selling it than the actual product," he said. 

Get ready for Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks to be over-run by bikini babes waving strobe lights. Also, every used car lot will now offer all the free Red Bull you want.

Coffee mug pic courtesy of the amazing Too Much Coffee Man comic. Go here to read TMCM and/or buy the mug or other cool stuff. 

Great corporate weasel words: When in doubt blame ED or Elvis

  1. Bob Dole's favorite malady, erectile dysfunction, is to blame for GM getting all limp. At least that's how I interprest the fact that GM decided to announce that it has to spend $17M a year on Viagra, Cialis and other erectile dysfunction drugs. While the company does cop to the fact that's a small fraction of GM's overall health care costs ($5B last year) "company executives often use the example to illustrate what they said are out-of-control health care costs," according to the AP. Best line in the story: "Ford Motor Co. declined to say how much it spends on erectile dysfunction drugs, and a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group could not provide figures." You can blame the ED or you can blame the fact that you've made a lot of crappy cars. You decide.
  2. elvisThe King is blamed, long live the King. Execs as the UK bakery Kingsmill would like us to believe that an ad campaign — featuring Elvis Presley, no less — is why they lost a third of their market share. The campaign was a tongue-in-cheek one built around the fact that on his one brief stop in the UK, Elvis ate some the company's bread and therefore the bread is made "By Appointment To The King." Kinda clever actually. Best line of the story: "Analysts said that Kingsmill had lost about a third of its market share to Hovis and Warburtons because of the advert and production issues." AND: "The problems come after the loss of [parent company] Allied’s deal to supply Asda with own-label bread after a dispute with the supermarket group." While "critics" blasted the ads as some sort of sacrilegious thing, I think the only way a campaign could kill a third of your market share is if it made joking reference to Hitler. After all, Starbucks was recently endorsed by Chinese dictator, er, president Hu Jintao and it doesn't seem to have hurt them.

Starbucks – favored by repressive dictators everywhere

Chinese President Hu Jintao this week positioned himself as a future spokesmodel for the Seattle-based coffee chain.

"Starbucks coffee shops have mushroomed in China's cities. If I were not serving in this office, I would certainly prefer to go into one of the coffee shops run by Starbucks," he told a group of “dignitaries,” including Bill Gates and Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz. “And if they screwed up my double venti decaf latte I would have them killed.”

Not who I want endorsing my product but I'm just weird that way.

You people sure are weird

Well, you’re reading me which is one definite indicator. Readership here at CD is going up and up much to my amazement (about 100 views a day, so I don’t think I have to worry about some MSM trying to buy me out) and the consistently most read piece: The Krispy-Kreme burger, I wish I was making this up. From now on, Krispy Kreme is all I write about.

But such loyalty deserves a reward, so… first five people to post a response to this post will get a GENUINE Collateral Damage™ (not really) refrigerator magnet. It’s from CafePress, so you know it’s crappy! (Offer excludes those seven people who already have one.) I am actively seeking another supplier for embranded swag, if anyone has any suggestions please pass them along. I’m in marketing so I’m all about quality Swag.
BTW, 2nd most read post? Starbucks to Tea Drinkers: Drop Dead!