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Starbucks Boosts Brand with New Energy Drink and Corporate Citizenship

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 22, 2012 04:27 PM

Energy drinks aren’t just boosting people’s bodies to push on to new heights. They are also seriously boosting the bottom line for plenty of companies. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Monster, Red Bull, and Rockstar all enjoyed "double-digit increases" last year.

So if you’re already a beverage company, it seems like a no-brainer to get into the energy drink space, right? That’s apparently the thinking at Starbucks, whose drinks already have a generally uplifting effect on consumers. As USA Today puts it, the coffee giant is entering “the $8 billion energy drink category” in April with “a new line of ‘natural’ energy drinks, Starbucks Refreshers” that according to the press release will be sold not just at Starbucks locations, but at groceries and convenience stores.

The Refreshers ready-to-drink line is based on “fruity, carbonated drink that's high in antioxidants” and use “unroasted, green coffee extract for the energy boost,” but won’t have any coffee taste, the paper reports. Flavors include raspberry pomegranate, orange melon and strawberry lemonade.

It appears that Starbucks is looking to find more revenue from outside its stores (though it also, of course, wouldn’t mind some more cash from its actual stores as well). "Starbucks is firing on all cylinders," CEO Howard Schultz stated at the company's annual shareholders meeting, held Wednesday in Seattle, USA Today reports. "We are now creating lots of Starbucks products to live outside of our stores."

Schultz also released the company's 11th annual global responsibility report at the meeting, and also announced its fifth U.S. manufacturing facility, participation in Green Mountain's Keurig Vue brewing system, and new initiatives to build on the Create Jobs for USA program and help communities thrive.

Specifically, as outlined in a press release, the company announced:

“Create Jobs for USA was specifically designed to give Americans a simple, specific way to take action and be part of a solution to our national jobs emergency,” said Schultz. “Our initial progress tells us that we can continue to grow this public-private initiative and that the emotional appeal of Americans helping Americans resonates, especially when our fellow citizens know that their participation contributes to their own communities in sustainable ways. In the coming weeks we plan to introduce new corporate partners that will support the effort with equity donations, awareness campaigns, and consumer outreach.”

In addition to donating at Starbucks company-owned stores across the U.S. or online at createjobsforusa.org, concerned citizens starting this week may now also support Create Jobs for USA by texting a donation to 80888JOBS. Building on its strong track record of helping neighborhoods thrive wherever it does business, Starbucks also announced several other initiatives aimed at giving partners and customers the opportunity to be directly involved in giving back to their local communities.

This April, Starbucks will kick off its second annual Global Month of Service where partners, customers and community organizations will be mobilized to make a positive impact. Across the globe, Starbucks partners will lead community service projects focused on the individual needs of the neighborhoods where they live and work. Throughout the year, Starbucks partners and customers dedicate their time and energy to creating positive change in their neighborhoods, and during the Global Month of Service that commitment is amplified and celebrated. During Starbucks first Global Month of Service in 2011, nearly 60,000 volunteers participated from across 30 countries on four continents – resulting in more than 155,000 hours of community service. The company invites people in the U.S. and Canada to sign up for projects in their area at community.starbucks.com.

The company also unveiled Community Card: Vote.Give.Grow., a program which enables any Starbucks customer with a registered Starbucks Card to help determine how the Starbucks Foundation distributes $4 million to 124 local non-profit organizations across the country. Each week throughout April, customers can cast a vote for one of four non-profit organizations in their own community. Votes will be tallied at the end of April and the $4 million from the Starbucks Foundation will be distributed based on the number of votes each organization receives. Every participating non-profit will receive a portion of the funding so that their programs can continue to help neighborhood residents – young and old – access services that help them gain education, housing and employment.

Community Card: Vote.Give.Grow., will support a combination of national and local non-profit organizations including Opportunity Finance Network and DonorsChoose.org. To vote, customers with a registered Starbucks Card can visit starbucks.com/VoteGiveGrow beginning Sunday, April 1.

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