Thursday, 6 August 2009

Starbucks un-brands itself: sneaky or smart?

July 24th, a new coffee shop called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea opened its doors in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle (on 15th Avenue).

This coffee house is the quintessential "little neighbourhood
coffee shop": reclaimed furniture, long wood tables, a stage where there will be live music and poetry readings, greek philosophy book pages wallpaper a back wall, the espresso' s made from a fancy manual LaMarzocco machines rather than regular auto-espresso machines, beer and wine is served, as well as cool "retro-hip" food including artisan baked breads and gelato.

The kicker? This is a Starbucks... in disguise!
A little sneaky, no?

Over a year ago, it was reported that Starbucks' sales were declining (more than 40% in a year). The problem? Starbucks became too popular! As the
BBC reported in 2008, Starbucks used to be the new, cool place to enjoy a 'venti' or a 'frappuccino', sitting in a comfy couch reading a book or working on your laptop. Now, there's a Starbucks on every corner, and even Starbucks' CEO admits that the brand has become a commodity, sending once loyal patrons to search out smaller, trendier coffee houses... like 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea.

Apparently, Seattle should expect
2 more Starbucks-in-disguise to appear, named after the neighbourhoods they're in rather than the chain. Clearly, Starbucks is responding to public awareness and interest in independent and local businesses versus large and international ones but what do you think of their strategy? Do you they're being sneaky by disguising themselves or that it's a smart initiative to re-invent themselves?

Click here for the new coffee shop's website.


Gina said...

I just heard about this yesterday, verrry sneaky! Their trying anything possible

Gina said...

Wow, Sybil thanks so much for your comment on my blog! I'm ashamed to admit, but I really do not know as much about the American health care system as you do about Canada's. I haven't worked long enough as an RD, so I don't know enough about what is really happening. As far as my own life, I am privileged, and I know I am. I've gone to the same doctor my entire life, therefore I've never had to go looking for a doctor. I've also been very healthy, so I've never experienced having to look for any type of specialist. In my opinion, the US has it great, but again, I am not a fair representation of what Americans are going through. I've been lucky enough to have my school cover my meds/doctor visits, etc, and when not in school I had my parents to help me out.
I do know that when my bf Nick went looking for a doctor about 1 month ago, he found one right away, and she is great! She is located only about 10 minutes away too, so our experience wasn't bad at all. If he wasn't covered by insurance, however, the visit would ahve been expensive. He didn't have insurance to cover the meds he needed, and therefore had to pay 100 dollars for one month's worth, YIKES! This is where a lot of the problem lies. Nick could afford the 100 dollar prescription, many many others cannot, therefore they chose not to take the meds they need.

I really need to learn more about the reality of US health care, but I appreciate your insight on Canada's. HAve a great day!

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I think it is a smart marketing strategy...trying a new to a slightly different demographic- I'm curious to see how it works out for them.

Melissa said...

Good marketing ploy? Indeed. I do think this is a sneaky way to cut into true independent coffee shop business. Is Starbucks not making enough profit? Pure corporate greed at a time when independent shop owners are likely already struggling to keep their doors open.