With more than 15,000 stores in 50 countries and one of the most recognisable logos in the world, Starbucks' power in the coffee industry cannot be questioned. Founded in 1971 in Seattle's Pike Place Market, the company prides itself on using only ethically sourced coffee beans for the best quality drinks. However, despite its worldwide appeal, the brand is still growing and it was only in 2007 that it introduced itself to the largest country in the world - Russia. Because of this, it is still a relative newcomer to the Russian market and so it needed a way to place itself head and shoulders above its competitors.
Although Starbucks has only been in the country for five years, it has already opened 57 stores and wanted to convince Russia's inhabitants that it is the maker of the best coffee in the world. It needed to do something on a small scale that would make a big impact and it only had a modest budget to work with.
The brand is popular amongst the middle and upper classes and it could be argued that carrying a Starbucks coffee cup is as much of a status symbol as carrying a designer handbag or wearing an expensive pair of shoes. Not everybody is willing to pay premium prices for its coffee and many people simply opt for the cheapest available option. Starbucks decided to use this to its advantage with a sneaky campaign that was sure to ruffle the feathers of its nearest competition.
Postcards emblazoned with the Starbucks logo where placed in local stores and handed out to members of the public as they left other coffee shops in the area. Each postcard was able to convert into a standard sized cup holder that people could use to 'upgrade' the cups of coffee they had just bought. This meant that they could trick others into thinking they were drinking the real thing.
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