Today started off as any other day, except for the fact that tweets flooded in about FREE COFFEE at Starbucks!
Never mind the ingenius barista who tried to upsell me the full-blown breakfast, I still got a swell deal on coffee.
The concept of the campaign is awesome – freebies will definitely engage the general population and word of mouth will be the powerful medium in addition to social media tools that will spread the brand like wildfire.
Literally 50% of my office went to the Starbucks outlet downstairs to get a cuppa, and we all came back with smiles on our faces. Many across the country were also like that, and were happily posting tweets and photos of their experience.
I’d say the campaign was a great success and the awareness of the coffee company and their offering surely went far and wide. Chris Anderson in his book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, talks about how the entire marketplace is changing – the under-30 generation refuse to pay for news and information, music is widely pirated, and people expect freemiums (think of limited accounts to certain services – Gmail being one and Flickr basic as another).
In this day and age, FREE is in. Look at the number of products that are given away these days, or sold at a very low price – companies make money off the related services – razors are given away, or sold cheaply, whilst the Gillette blades are sold at a handsome price. Printers are cheap, but the ink refills are a premium.
Closer to home, Air Asia sells tickets close to their cost price and make immense amounts of money from ancillary products such as food, advertising and travel packages. Another example in our Malaysian backyard is The Sun newspaper that is given away for free make a loss on production costs, but instead makes money from alternate revenue streams such as advertising.
Through this exercise, not only does Starbucks get more mindshare, they also get to sell their breakfast offerings, and they definitely created a buzz in the marketplace. Kudos to the team behind the campaign.
FREE is in, and FREE is here to stay. It drives us to be more innovative on how we can sell better.
Finally, there was even a TwitVid that was posted of the experience ordering their FREE coffee. (courtesy of @smashpop)