When it comes to marketing, Starbucks has usually relied on word-of-mouth and social media to raise awareness about its products. And in many markets, the sheer ubiquity of the brand's logos and locations has kept the need for paid advertising in print and especially on TV to a minimum. As a percentage of sales, the Seattle-based company has traditionally spent far less of its money on advertising than its main rivals.
But a TV ad launching this week in the U.K. may signal a shift in Starbucks' marketing priorities. Bloomberg reports that the ad is part of a huge advertising push in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
It's not the first time Starbucks has aired TV commercials. Back in 2007, the coffee chain debuted its first national TV campaign in the U.S., part of a big to revive lagging sales. Nor is Starbucks the only big brand that's started to show new openness to television in 2012. Chipotle made waves by showing an ad featuring a song by Willie Nelson during this year's Grammys.
In light of the news that the brand would be offering new styles of coffee, that it has plans to move into the fresh-squeezed juice market and that it has been testing new concepts at a specially-designed shop in Amsterdam, though, it's possible to see the TV ad news as part of a larger shift in priorities at Starbucks. A new humility, if you will.
British website Campaign has the full video, which emphasizes the friendly nature of the Starbucks experience.