Tag Archives: Starbucks

Missing Type Campaign

The thing with humans is that they are notoriously fragile. One little mishap, a small insect bite, sometimes just a change of weather and they find themselves sick, injured or in a hospital. And, worse, science hasn’t yet caught up with creating artificial substitutes for the body. If we need blood, it has to be actual blood. Thankfully, that’s not a very difficult process.
Donating blood is fairy simple, it involves a trip to your local blood bank – make sure you ain’t drunk, or carrying any illness. They’ll tell you actually – then you fill up a form and lie there for a few minutes. They’ll stick a needle in you, and it’s not as painful as it is made out to be. You’ll be given a sandwich and some juice and in a short rest later you are good to go about your day, feeling much better about yourself.
Jokes apart, donating blood saves millions of lives every year. In an emergency, your blood might help save someone in a critical condition and even if there isn’t an emergency. Blood is one of the most needed things in medicines, which is why it is important to have blood banks and maintain supply.
Recent research in England suggested that there was a nearly thirty percent drop in the number of donors in the past decade. This prompted the NHS Blood and Transplant to come up with the ‘Missing Type’ campaign.
The Missing Type is a clever pun and is exactly what the campaign is asking brands to do – drop letters from their name and logo which also signify blood groups – A, B and O. And it’s not just restricted to companies, cities and other institutions, even the Royal Air Force, have joined in as well. It’s been a raging success, given that more than thirty thousand new donors have registered with the first ten days of the campaign. The campaign has also gone international – outside the UK – with other cities and companies joining in.
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This amazingly clever marketing for a cause has been astoundingly well received across the world and has succeeded in spreading the desired awareness. Here are some of the pictures.
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Share the post, spread the awareness and become a blood donor.

Marketing Misadventures Part 1

Considering how we are a business school and Marketing is such a big part of business, we are starting this new series titled Marketing Misadventures. We would write about real world examples on how companies, more often than not, huge companies with professional marketing teams, messed up in the silliest, most insensitive ways in trying to market their product. We can only hope that our readers appreciate these examples in how not to market a product. Here goes part 1 of the series which we will intermittently write about.

That time when Starbucks thought 9/11 imagery was a good idea…

Starbucks sells coffee and other things people like with their coffee. They also sell other beverages and they need the world to know that, so in the summer of 2002, which acute readers may notice was a few months after the 9/11 disaster, they released this advert.


Now, if one remembers correctly, and it is very likely that Americans (where the disaster happened just a few months ago), would remember, the 9/11 attacks brought down the two World Trade Centre towers when two hijacked planes were crashed into them. It also so happens that the WTC towers stuck out into the New York skyline amongst other (not as tall) but mostly homogeneous skyscrapers.

If you look at the seemingly innocent picture again, in light of all the above information, you would notice two tall twin cups standing out amongst square blocks of grasses (since when are blades of grasses square blocks?) and a dragonfly aiming straight for them. All of these could have still been ignored but then comes the kicker – the tagline – Collapse into cool!

Inadvertent or not, that was too close to home, especially so soon after one of the worst attacks on American soil in their history. Protests followed, there was immediate and immense negative publicity and Starbucks aborted the release of new posters while taking down the already displayed ones. They learnt a valuable lesson that day – to stay away from horrible reminders when trying to sell coffee; until September 11, 2011 that is.  They branded the ten year anniversary of the attacks as ‘free coffee day’ and handed out free beverages in more than one location. At least this time the campaign met with mostly positive response although there were some criticisms about opportunism and tackiness.

– Mycroft