Starbucks: If you like it, try it

Starbucks' coffee coupons are not normal for the brand. From AdAge By Emily Bryson York Published: April 21, 2008 click to read more.  Another Mass Tactic Coupons Follow Close Behind Free Samples     LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) — Howard Schultz insists he’s returning Starbucks to its roots, but he’s doing it with mass-marketing tactics once anathema to the original brand.    Starbucks’ coffee coupons are not normal for the brand.     The company is estimated to have nearly doubled its marketing spending to $100 million, and last week it began an aggressive coupon program unlike anything in its history, raising questions about its turnaround strategy. “I think it’s desperation,” Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. “There was a time that they didn’t need to coupon.”     The coffee chain distributed coupons good for free tall-size coffees every Wednesday through May 28 in USA Today, The Washington Post and several other markets Starbucks declined to reveal. Last week it also passed out coupons in New York City good for a free cup of coffee.     “We know not everyone could make it to the big event last Tuesday [a free giveaway for its new blend], so this was a way to welcome them into the stores over the course of several weeks to taste the coffee for themselves,” Starbucks spokeswoman Bridget Baker said. She declined to say if the giveaway is the biggest or longest-running the company has done.     But former Starbucks marketing executive John Moore, writer of blog Brand Autopsy, described the coupon effort as more prolonged than anything the company has done before. “The reason for that is they haven’t had to,” he said.

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