Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Starbucks Roadblock

I was at my local Starbucks this morning, waiting in the usual long line and straining to find something interesting to occupy my time when I happened to glance up at the specials board. I saw that they were playing the new Paul McCartney CD in what they called a "Global Listening Event" or something. Apparently they are playing McCartney's new album all day in every Starbucks and from the title, it sounded like this could be happening in every Starbucks across the world. That's pretty big.

But it's an interesting and, since it's a globally known entity like McCartney, very valid tactic to introduce a new album. They could've done more with signage (maybe table tents or at least a real sign, which admittedly I didn't look for), but in general, it's great to hear what you're buying. Lord knows you're waiting long enough so there's time to hear a good sample.

It's a great example of the mash-up of music and food service because the music becomes a part of the ambiance and the brand experience. You, being a captive audience ready to experience a tasty beverage, are in the mood to receive it and the music can add another layer to the image the store is trying to project.

It started me thinking about all the other food service and retail establishments that could possibly implement such a strategy from the stereotypical (bbq restaurants and country or blues music, diners and 50s music) to the quirky (Target and the many songs it uses in its ads?). I mean, why not package your audio image and make a few bucks in the process? It also creates a legitimate reason for consumers to go to your website and pretty much applies to everyone that visits the store.

Ok, so there are licensing issues, manufacturing issues, additional headaches, but isn't that just an opportunity ready to happen? A company can be created that does the licensing in one shot, the picking and packaging of songs, the cutting of the CDs (optional), the labeling, etc. and ships it out (or enables downloads) for companies big and small. Create a skin-able front end engine for clients, and it's ready for incorporation into a client's website.

Anyway, my apologies. I intended to talk about how this Starbucks Roadblock thing was like interactive marketing's near equivalent, the all-day roadblock on portals, but kind of meandered into something else. Oh well, that's what blogs are for, no?


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