Saturday, December 6, 2008

Starbucks & an AIDS-free Africa

By now, you've probably seen the Starbucks Project Red fan page on Facebook ... I know - old news, old news. But I thought I'd add a little bit of information about the cause marketing campaign --

When Starbucks announced its partnership with (RED) at its Leadership Conference in New Orleans, the 10,000 Starbucks employees in attendance gave a standing ovation.

The Project Red holiday promotion began on Thanksgiving Day, and runs through January 2nd. For every Peppermint Mocha Twist, Gingersnap Latte or Espresso Truffle purchased during that period, Starbucks will contribute five cents to the Global Fund to invest in AIDS programs in Africa. On Dec. 1st, Starbucks contributed five cents for every "hand-crafted beverage" sold, in honor of World AIDS Day.

Marketing includes -
* TV ads from new agency BBDO themed, "It's more than coffee."

* The campaign launched Fri, November 28th in Times Squre, with celebrity chef Mario Batali and actors Mary Louise Parker and Annabella Sciorra and model Helena Christensen.

* Community website, where consumers can use an "impact calculator" to learn how their purchases are helping save lives.

- Customers with a registered Starbucks account can upload photos of themselves taken inside the (Red) parentheses at Starbucks stores, together with their Starbucks location and favorite Starbucks exclusive. They can search the photos on the site by screen name, store location or region, and can also view a video about the effect two pills a day can have on HIV patients in Africa.

According to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, this marketing campaign fits perfectly with Starbuck's mission: "Now more than ever, it is important to continue to be a responsible global company. We have a deep partnership with coffee growing regions in Africa and are proud to partner with our customers to contribute toward an AIDS-free Africa."

(Starbucks currently buys coffee from ten African countries including Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In 2009, Starbucks plans to open Starbucks Farmer Support Centers in Ethiopia and Rwanda.)

Starbucks describes this as the beginning of a "multi-year partnership" with Red.

Other Red partners include the Gap, Converse, Apple, Hallmark, American Express (U.K. only), Emporio Armani, Dell, and Windows. Since its launch in the Spring of 2006, more than $115 million has been generated by (RED) for the Global Fund. (RED) money is at work in Swaziland, Rwanda, Ghana and Lesotho. For more information, visit

Advertising Age article.
Starbucks Press Release.

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