Starbucks Celebrates with Podcasts, Events; Yanks Free Coffee Invite

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Starbucks is adding special items to its menu to celebrate its 35th anniversary—podcasts and events.

To celebrate its milestone, the coffee chain is inviting consumers to in-store parties where they can learn to taste coffee as if they were wine connoisseurs.

In addition, starting Sept. 5, Starbucks will launch a four-episode podcast series called Coffee Conversations that will feature discussions about home-brewing methods, specialty coffee, entertainment, Fair Trade coffee, and coffee and food pairings with Starbucks Coffee Masters. Consumers can download the podcast at

“The Coffee Conversations audio program is a way for us to expand our relationships with [consumers] as well as providing additional coffee knowledge and fun facts,” said Scott McMartin, Starbucks’ director of coffee education and Coffee Conversation host, in a statement.

Also in September, coffee drinkers can brush up on their coffee knowledge via Starbucks’ Coffee Exploration seminars. Starbucks employees will host the seminars, which teach attendees how to find, roast and blend a good cup of joe at Starbucks locations nationwide, as well as in Canada.

As part of its anniversary celebration, the Seattle-base chain is rolling out its special Pike Place Market coffee blend in stores in the U.S. and Canada. The flavored coffee, once only for sale at Starbucks’ Seattle home, will be available nationwide for a limited time.

Starbucks’ marketing push comes as the chain in July posted its weakest monthly same-store sales increase since 2001. The company cited demand for cold drinks (i.e., Frappuccinos) caused a slow down in service during the morning rush, prompting customers to seek a caffeine fix elsewhere, the AP reported.

In a separate development, Starbucks was forced to yank its offer for free coffee to employees and their friends and family members this week after its virally distributed invite went out of control.

The coffee chain sent an e-mail to a limited number of employees in its southeast region offering free coffee on Wednesday, asking recipients to forward the e-mail to friends and family. Starbucks soon stopped the offer when learning the e-mail had been “redistributed beyond the original intent and modified beyond Starbucks control,” the company said in a statement.

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