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Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks’

Starbucks Asks Customers to Leave Their Guns at Home

If your morning plans included sipping a mocha frappe at your local Starbucks while lovingly polishing your Colt 45, the coffee shop chain kindly requests that you reconsider, and leave the gun at home.

Many U.S. restaurants and shops don’t allow firearms on their properties as part of their company policies, but because Starbucks’ policy has been to default to local gun laws, including “open carry” regulations that allow people to bring firearms into stores in many U.S. states, the chain has been dragged into the heated debate over gun rights.

This past August, in order to thank the coffee shop chain for what they saw as a firearm-friendly policy, gun-rights advocates held a national “Starbucks Appreciation Day” at multiple Starbucks locations nationwide. One of these locations included Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot dead in an elementary school last December. Though Starbucks had the foresight to close that shop before the event was scheduled to begin, the Appreciation Day events pulled the company deeper into the contentious political debate.

In an effort to distance itself from the controversy, and to make it clear that Starbucks does not sponsor or advocate the carrying of loaded firearms in public, chief executive Howard Schultz said in an open letter late Tuesday that Starbucks Appreciation Day events “disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of ‘open carry.’ To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores.” He went on to say that:

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PR Win: Bloomberg’s Sign-Language Specialist Becomes an Advocate for the Deaf

Hey, remember Lydia Callis? Sure you do—she became an instant YouTube celebrity last October for her repeat appearances at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s side during Hurricane Sandy. Her animated sign-language style and the obvious passion she poured into her job endeared her to millions; she even inspired a Saturday Night Live skit.

So what’s she doing now? She’s parlayed her fame into a new role as an advocate for the deaf in New York. Right now she’s leading sign-language tours at New York Public Library, but her ambitious goal is to make more Americans aware of the challenges their hearing-impaired neighbors face every day. It’s a real problem—deaf customers recently filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for discrimination at the coffee shop’s Manhattan branches.

Speaking to the New York Times about the media frenzy, she said:

Seriously, when is this going to die down? Wow, people just really don’t know much about the deaf community.

Lydia knows of what she speaks: while she is not deaf, her mother and three siblings are, so ASL was her first language. Seems like she’d make a perfect advocate, no?

Here’s the clip in case you forgot:

Newtown Starbucks Closed to Prevent Gun Control ‘Debate’ Event

The best way to manage the damage from a PR crisis is to avoid it altogether, right?  In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it story, Starbucks scored a pre-emptive crisis comms win last Friday by closing the branch located in Newtown, Connecticut—the same town where a gunman killed 26 people, most of them schoolchildren, last December.

Why? Because several gun rights advocacy groups declared August 9th “Starbucks Appreciation Day” and planned to celebrate the fact that the company does not prohibit weapons inside its stores issue by, yes, bringing their guns to the coffee shop for a publicity stunt.

That’s not all:

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Dunkin’ Donuts Becomes First Fast Food Chain to Offer Gluten-Free Pastries

Pastry enthusiasts on gluten-free diets need no longer stare longingly across the counter at forbidden blueberry muffins while ordering their Dunkin’ Donuts coffee — soon they’ll be able to indulge in some sweet treats alongside their wheat-tolerant friends.

D&D chains will sell gluten-free cinnamon-sugar doughnuts and blueberry muffins across the U.S. this year, Stan Frankenthaler, the company’s executive chef, said in an e-mail. “We recognize the importance of providing our guests with many options, including alternative choices for people with food and dietary restrictions,” he said.

Though gluten-free certainly doesn’t necessarily mean low calorie — your waistline will still probably thank you for skipping the doughnut, gluten-free or otherwise –  this move demosntrates that the company is invested in providing its customers with options that fit their lifestyles. And because Starbucks and McDonald’s are both proving a bit slower to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon, Dunkin is poised to become a pioneer.

Not to mention the fact that it’s probably a good strategy for the brand to appear somewhat health-conscious after its recent introduction of a bacon, egg and doughnut breakfast sandwich.

Star‘s James Heidenry: ‘If a publicist wants to serve their clients, they should have a good relationship with us’

In Mediabistro’s latest So What Do You Do? interview, Star editor-in-chief James Heidenry tackles his newsstand nemeses head-on, calling People and Us Weekly “the mouthpiece of celebrity publicists” – and he didn’t mean that in a positive way. 

“They covet these relationships with the publicists, and as a result they don’t say negative things about the celebrities, something like a famous person getting caught cheating, whereas we don’t have any such relationships,” he explained.

Although the pub isn’t necessarily beholden to PR pros, said Heidenry, getting on his team’s good side can sometimes work in your favor. “If a publicist wants to serve their clients, they should have a good relationship with us, because, frankly, we do have stories on certain people that we hold, because we like the relationship with the publicist and we’ve done Q&A with the celebrity in the past or photo shoots with them,” he said. 

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, James Heidenry, Editor-in-Chief of Star?

Move Over, Superman: Starbucks CEO Has His Own Comic Book

Starbucks CEO Howard SchultzIt’s a Bird! It’s a plane! It’s…Super CEO!

We’re pretty sure The Justice League didn’t advertise an open position, but no matter. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, can stand on his own (and so, apparently, can his comic book).

From the same state that brought you the very first Starbucks comes the inaugural edition of  “Howard Schultz: The Man Behind Starbucks”, written by C.W. Cooke, drawn by Angel Bernuy with cover art by Conan Momchilov and released by Washington-based Bluewater Productions.

Don’t expect any high-flying hi-jinx or otherworldly bad guys in this comic. The ink-and-paper version of Schultz does much of what the flesh-and-blood version does–i.e. serving as the visionary ruler of a coffee empire.

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Dr. McDreamy, Tully’s Coffee Take on Starbucks

Tully's Coffee Patrick DempseyCapitalism, at its most basic, is a system that enables the public to vote with its money. By offering or withholding funds, the public decides which companies succeed and which companies fail.

So as cynical and jaded as the public can be about the ubiquitous presence of Starbucks and its cultural influence over how we—we meaning the entire human race—perceive and consume coffee, it is important to remember that the public elevated the brand to global prominence.

As Starbucks continues its caffeinated march across multiple nations and generations, we see a growing opportunity for brands that cater to people who–gasp!–love coffee but don’t love Starbucks. Some folks, for example, think Starbucks coffee tastes bitter or burnt (and this isn’t just the Dunkin’ Donuts crowd).

Enter actor Patrick Dempsey–yes, that would be Dr. McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy. The man who isn’t a doctor but plays one on TV just purchased Tully’s Coffee, a chain based in Starbuck’s own hometown of Seattle, Washington which filed for bankruptcy in October. At auction, Mr. Dempsey and his group Global Baristas outbid six other competitors (including Starbucks and Baristas Coffee Co.), paying $9.15 million for the company. Read more

The World’s Greatest Brands: 2013 Edition

StarbucksNike Just Do It Welcome back, dear readers! We hope everyone had a great holiday and survived the crazy season in one piece despite hectic travel schedules, extended visits with the in-laws and borderline alcoholism.

The first of the many, many stories we accumulated over the break is an interesting one: a list of 2013’s 27 “World Champions” of the global branding game, brought to us by Citi and Business Insider.

According to Citi, these 27 brands have beaten all others when it comes to creating “significant and enduring business models over the long term”–and we covered quite a few of them in 2012. Our thoughts on some of the winners after the jump:

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6 Brands Taking Social Media Strategy Beyond Facebook

SephoraWe found ourselves intrigued by last week’s Forbes post on “Why Facebook Can’t Be the Center of Your Social Strategy”, because we’re fairly certain that every PR/marketing pro would love to work with a social media platform less infuriating than the big FB—a platform that grants brands a little more in the way of control and allows reps to more clearly demonstrate the benefits of a given project to clients.

According to author Rob Tarkoff of Lithium Technologies, some of the most socially successful brands have moved beyond Facebook by establishing their own “on-domain customer communities”. In other words, they encourage fans to participate in social media forums located within their own websites.

Tarkoff writes that “The most cutting-edge B2B and B2C brands are placing bets on on-domain, owned, social media hubs where they can control the brand, guide the experience, and drive real business outcomes.”

Sounds great–so who are they? We’ve chosen to highlight six:

  1. American Idol
  2. Sephora
  3. American Express
  4. Google AdWords
  5. BMW
  6. Starbucks

Click through for details on each.

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Will the World Grow Weary of Starbucks’s Unstoppable Growth?

Ok, now this is just surreal. We’ve all heard the jokes about how there is a Starbucks on every street corner, and we know that statement is funny because it is (almost) true.

Everywhere you turn, no matter where you are, you’ll see that green and white logo—beside the gas station, across from your florist, atop the dog groomer’s studio. Starbucks simply appears out of nowhere, like Michael Meyers in Halloween.

But the world is, apparently, not enough: The Seattle-based coffee chain and global caffeine kingpin just announced plans to open 3,000 new stores in the Americas region by 2017, with half of those stores slotted for somewhere in the United States. That is staggering. Where in America is Starbucks going to build 1,500 new shops? And where are all of those customers coming from? Does the US have secret plans to colonize Antarctica? And why weren’t we told?

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