Starbucks Challenges Consumers with Puzzle Contest

By Mar 17, 2006

Starbucks Coffee Co. is testing consumers’ love of puzzles and knowledge of the company with an on-going crossword contest that promises coffee for life.

Through The Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge, consumers can solve a series of crossword puzzles in the Sunday New York Times sold at Starbucks and use the clues to compete in a treasure hunt. Each crossword is linked to Starbucks experiences, which feature artists, musicians and painters whose works were inspired at the coffeehouse. Puzzles will be based on a new theme each week, the company said.

Starbucks teamed up with New York Times Crossword Editor Will Shortz and Discovery Times Channel as part of the promotion. Shortz developed each puzzle for The Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge.

“We’re always looking for ways to have fun and add an element of discovery to enhance customers’ Starbucks experience,” said Starbucks spokesperson Christy Salcido.

The promotion runs through March 26. Consumers who solve the treasure hunt must call an 800 number on April 4 with the correct answer for a chance at the grand prize. One top winner will receive coffee for life, an average value of $73,000. The prize will be awarded in yearly installments of $1,460, or $4 a day for a cup of coffee. Five first-prize winners will receive $500 Starbucks Cards.

The Discovery Times Channel is backing the contest, airing tips on how to solve crossword puzzles and 15-second clue spots to help puzzlers solve the weekly crosswords. Puzzle-solvers who missed clues can find them online at Starbucks.com/crossword.

Marden-Kane, Inc., Manhasset, NY administers the contest. TV spots, print ads, in-store signage and online materials support.

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