June 05, 2007

THERE'S A FINE LINE BETWEEN RECKLESSNESS AND COURAGE


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I traipsed into Starbucks today to see if customers were clamoring for the new Paul McCartney album, "Memory Almost Full," the first on Starbucksí new record label, Hear Music.

'Bucks started playing the album nonstop at its 10,000 worldwide shops. It's unclear what reaction I expected. You never know how the heavily caffeinated will respond to crass marketing ploys getting between them and their $4 hot beverages.

Turns out, they were pretty mellow about it at the shot I stopped at in Brandon on Causeway Boulevard.

Not that there wasn't plenty of signage to spur sales. I counted at least seven in-store visual reminders including:

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... this rotating kiosk ...

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... next to each register ... (Yes, that's about the millionth Police greatest hits collection)

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... and another near the counter.

Your eyes do not deceive you. You can, in fact, get your own Starbucks gift card with Paul's cute-but-elderly-and-newly-divorced visage on it. It smells like marijuana.

Just kidding. That was a little joke at the expense of Paul's Japanese drug record.

How are customers reacting?

None bothered to touch the disc during the 20 minutes I was there. I asked a clerk if he had any McCartney customers today.

"No, but I just got back from vacation."

Huh? Nevermind.

New York magazine covered the "Starbucks invasion" today and talked with customers. It's food journalism at its finest.

My favorite response:

RICKI WASSERMAN, 57, Long Beach, executive recruiter How long have you been here? Just a few minutes. What do you think of the album? Iím not really paying attention. Iím here to get a coffee and go. Do you wish you could sit here and listen to it for an hour? I wish I could sit and listen to anything for an hour right now. If Paul were a Starbucks beverage, what would he be? Is this a real New York Magazine question? Heíd probably take some kind of a tea thing. Heís British. No, what beverage would he be? Oh, for Godís sake. A chai tea. A little spicy, a little traditional.

Yes, I bought a cup of Joe. My usual: Venti Mocha.

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Not sure what Sir Paul would have thought of the "Way I See It" message on the side:



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Then I noticed this at the bottom:



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That's putting it mildly.

I would have much rather preferred this one:



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Then again, combining Opus the penguin with The Police CD on the counter might have pushed things too far toward Nostalgiaville.

Another '80s reference and the kids from "Fame" may have burst into an impromptu dance recital from behind the muffin and scone display case.

Posted by Jeff at June 5, 2007 06:59 PM | TrackBack
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