2023 is marked by a planned release of a new James Bond movie. Starbucks intends to become a part of the Bond brandscape to promote its own image. The last decades witnessed the rapid growth of Starbucks Corporation, which results in the loss of quality of its products and service (Liu and Gui, 2017). Together with the unwelcoming environment of developing markets, it constitutes the necessity to improve the company’s public perception.
The cooperation with EON Productions creates the possibility for cross-advertisement. The James Bond movie could incorporate a filming location in a Starbucks’ coffeehouse and showcase its logo. Starbucks could launch a brand placement campaign for the Bond movie, by using product packaging, media advertising, and offering free beverages in exchange for going to the movie. Cooperation with Eon Productions has the potential to increase customer awareness of Starbucks in the Eastern countries and multiply its customer base. In turn, Eon Productions will cut expenses on its advertisement campaign.
James Bond in Starbucks
Starbucks is a US multinational corporation that leads the list of largest coffeehouse chains in the world. The company encompasses more than 30 000 stores in over 80 countries across the world (Starbucks Company Profile, 2020). Starbucks’ primary product is coffee, however it also sells other beverages, dessert, snacks, and meals. Customer service is of paramount concern to the company thus its stores are furnished with sofas, have Wi-Fi and chargers.
Starbucks uses the quality of its products as its unique selling point. The company directly helps its farmer suppliers with soil testing to assure the best quality (Madar, 2018). Starbucks structures its price policy accordingly, attracting customers who can afford its products on a regular basis. Majority of its audience comprises high-income 25-40 year old customers (Khan, Yusop and Baharudin, 2018). Overall, the company targets educated representatives of upper-middle class.
Starbucks’ competitors are fast-food chains (McDonalds, Dunkin’Donuts, Pizza Hut) as well as other coffee chains, like McCafé, Costa Coffee, Tchibo. According to Madar (2018), Starbucks’s advantage against coffeehouses is its raw materials. Starbucks’ coffee is made of Arabica coffee, which it purchases from farmers who grow this species. Due to the extensive geographic coverage, the company adopts strategies of local culture adaptation.
Analysis of External Environment
The last two decades bore witness to the rapid growth of Starbucks. Although coffee is a beverage most commonly associated with Western countries, Starbucks actively looks for new expansion opportunities, including infiltration of Eastern markets. Due to the cultural traditions of many such countries, coffee is seen as an exotic product. Local populations prefer traditional teahouses that constitute main competition for coffee chains. However, the main audience of teahouses is the elder generation, which follows its traditional choice of drinks. With the advent of coffee brands, young people show more interest to beverages made out of beans. As coffee demand grows, tea culture is expected to subside, thus creating an opportunity for coffee chains to grow (Qian and Xing, 2016). In essence, Starbucks should promote its products to young people who will determine the demand on the market in the future.
Growth of the Starbucks Corporation disclosed challenges rising for the company. Liu and Gui (2017) argue that the rapid expansion that Starbucks brand experienced in the last decades, negatively impacted the quality of its products and service. Difficulties with multinational management coupled with the growing number of part-time employees, unfamiliar with corporate culture, lowered customer trust. As a result, the brand’s reputation suffered poor public perception.
Entering developing markets is a high-risk venture, even for a reputable brand. Starbucks hold quality in priority while deploying its subsidiaries in new countries. The company chooses visible locations in expensive areas for its stores. However, maintaining the level of service requires the appropriate price policy to compensate for the expenditures. Glowik (2017) points out the costs of Starbucks’ products as the reason that drives away many customers with low income. Low purchasing power raises the question of the profitability of operating in developing markets.
The damage to Starbucks’ image underlines its first objective, which is restoring the reputation of its brand. Increase in size creates quality issues and can bring negative returns. As a consequence, the company has to emphasise its current customer base and work on its perception in the Eastern countries. “The function of the marketing is to gain profits based on the satisfaction of customer wants and needs” (Qian and Xing, 2016, p. 30). Essentially, Starbucks should turn to internal growth as a company, rather than external.
One of the methods of promoting a business is brand placement. It is a common marketing strategy that can bring an instantaneous boost of finances. Sargent and Babor (2020) argue that putting a product in a successful movie encourages purchases and consumption of that product. Papp-Váry (2015c) pinpoints numerous examples of this correlation, which include a James Bond movie where the titular protagonist wears Omega watch. The watch sales increased by 40% after the premiere of the movie. Subsequently, it is feasible to suggest brand placement as an effective trick to influence viewer behaviour.
The James Bond movies are extremely popular across the world. Due to the age of the franchise, Bond movies do not target a specific audience, but rather hold a universal appeal (GCSE Media Studies – Set Product Fact Sheet. Spectre, 2016). Representatives of various generations will buy a ticket for the reason of familiarity with Bond films. This implies that age groups in large quantities will be exposed to advertisements inside the movie all over the world.
Starbucks could cooperate with EON Productions to promote each other’s brands. Incorporating Starbucks into a James Bond movie could raise public awareness of the Starbucks’ brand. Subsequently, it would encourage the much-needed influx of customers in developing countries, where Starbuck is an unknown phenomenon. Afterwards, the overall image of the company will improve, strengthening its position in competition on the markets and bringing the adequate return of investment.
Benefits of Co-Branding
Any contemporary film is a highly expensive project for its production company. Not only does it require filming a movie, but it also has to be promoted and distributed. Marketing campaign costs around the same amount as the movie itself. In order to reduce the overall expenditures, production companies can ask for providing a shooting location, or share the cost of marketing in exchange for brand placement (Papp-Váry, 2015b). Either way, collaborating with partners can help the production company ease the financial burden.
James Bond movies have characteristics that make it unique in cinema. Bond films take place in numerous locations, ranging from mountains to luxury hotels. Some scenes involve a lavish, elite setting, with five-star hotels, expensive cars, and eye-catching accessories. The majority of film watchers cannot afford such lifestyle and can only experience in on screen. Adding a background in the form of a Starbucks coffeehouse could help the moviegoers better identify with familiar surroundings. Song, Meyer and Ha (2015, p.7) refer to realism as “an influential determinant of audience enjoyment”, which “may increase positive attitudes toward a movie”. The authors go on to assert that familiar brand in a recognisable environment enriches consumption experience.
Starbucks and James Bond can fit each other by placing a scene in a brand’s coffeehouse. Brand placement backfires, when it is either excessive or does not fit the context (Best, 2015). In case of James Bond, the major character is a British secret service agent, whose job involves tracking terrorists, gathering intelligence, infiltrating criminal syndicates, and other activities that presuppose constant changing surroundings. Within this premise, the variety of places the plot can take its characters to is wide. It would not be a stretch to imagine a scene in a Starbucks outlet, because they are a common sight in many countries. As a result, the suspension of disbelief is preserved and viewers’ engagement is enhanced.
Having its brand recognised in a successful movie could multiply the number of Starbucks’ customers. Susanty and Kenny (2015, p. 23) claim that Starbucks “should prioritise brand identification as their strategy to attract potential customers”. A movie that is going to be watched by a mass audience is a viable venue to attract attention. Furthermore, Devia, Aisjah and Puspaningrum (2018, p. 163) consider Starbucks “capable of providing an emotional attachment to the customers.” Emotions are triggered by familiarity and positive associations, which can be caused by showcasing a logo (Machado et al. 2015). Using a Starbucks logo in a movie could elicit a positive response from the viewers to the brand. Ultimately, the way to increasing the customer interest to the Starbucks’ brand is identifying it in form of a famous logo.
When it comes to EON Productions, it could benefit from cooperating with Starbucks in three ways. The most obvious advantage for EON Productions is additional promotion for the new movie. Direct financial assistance would not probably be a valid choice for Starbucks. Papp-Váry (2015a) notes that a viable way of cooperation between the advertisers and the moviemaking company is providing the later with a free filming location. EON Productions could use one of Starbucks’ coffeehouses as a location where a scene will be shot.
The company will not have to pay the rent for shooting a scene in a Starbucks store. Using Starbucks as a scene location is cheaper than a typical for a Bond movie choice of expensive settings that would require a much higher cost in comparison. Starbucks can also arrange free catering for the moviemakers’ staff. Altogether, EON Productions can reduce costs by working with Starbucks.
Brand Placement Strategy
Starbucks has multiple venues to promote the James Bond movie. Hamdar, Al Dana and Al Chawa (2018) point out that people are largely driven by visual experiences. They argue that a customer chooses a product based on a variety of factors, most of which are not permanent and have importance for a limited amount of time. Any time a notable movie is about to premiere, the anticipation creates a temporary momentum that can be used to an economic advantage. The movie’s audience draws attention to anything that associates with the upcoming film. Starbucks could design coffee cups with an easily recognisable James Bond silhouette on them. The visual clue will connect to the feeling of anticipation and propel a customer to think about the movie, thus accomplishing the purpose of marketing.
Another way of attracting publicity to the movie is via social networks. Starbucks uses mass media to promote its products and encourage customer influx. For instance, in 2008, the company used the Presidential Elections as an advertisement opportunity (Sam and Cai, 2015). Starbucks published a video on Facebook, Twitter and its website that promised each voter a free coffee. The video went viral, and customer attention to the chain skyrocketed. The same tactics could be applied to the James Bond movie. The company could promise a free drink for anyone who bought a movie ticket, which would be advertised on social networks.
Starbucks also has a popular crowdsourcing platform that can be used as a tool to raise awareness about the movie. The platform is called My Starbucks Idea, and it has been operational since 2008. It was originally intended for collecting ideas that could be implemented in the company. However, the number of customers who used the platform does not surpass 200 000 people. Hossain and Zahidul Islam (2015) attribute this number to the lack of motivation. Using the upcoming James Bond Movie could bring a temporary solution to the deficit of interest towards it. At the time of the movie premiere, Starbucks could launch a competition of ideas. Whoever shares an applicable thought that can be realised within the company could get a free ticket to the movie. By starting this project, Starbucks could accomplish two significant goals. Firstly, it could attract more viewers to the Bond movie. Secondly, it could help promote the platform itself among Starbucks’ customers and increase the influx of ideas. Either way, Starbucks has the opportunity to benefit from the My Starbuck Idea platform.
One more opportunity for Starbucks to increase the Bond movie audience is to use it loyalty program. The program has existed since 2009, and it allows customers to get free drinks, food, and other bonuses. Customers accumulate stars to get the maximum benefits, thus making the accumulation of stars the primary motivation for customer behaviour (Berman, 2016). This program could reward anyone who watched the Bond movie in a theatre with an additional star. Not only would it motivate customers to go to the Bond film, but it would also encourage more customers to join the Starbucks loyalty program.
The final method of Bond brand placement is its inclusion on clothes. Starbucks’ logo appears on many shirts that are sold in stores. Starbucks could design a shirt that would combine the references to the James Bond movie with its own logo. By using the consumer demand to its advantage, Starbucks could motivate them even further, even via their loyalty program, for instance, by assigning stars to customers with brand clothes. This way Starbucks would employ its resources efficiently to build anticipation for the movie and attract attention to its own brand.
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