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Marketing Win/Marketing Fail: Patagonia vs Starbucks

Today we take a look at a company using their influential means as a way to benefit the world, and we also take a read through a very confusing ad.

Marketing Win: $10 Million to the Earth

Patagonia is well known across the globe as being a great company for many reasons. They speak out for the fight against climate change, they are politically outspoken, they give care and attention to their employees, and their clothing is great quality and extremely comfortable.

It’s not just within the last year that Patagonia has spoken out about how we can reduce our global footprint. Patagonia advocates for conservation, for example back in 2011 the company advertised around Black Friday telling its customers to not engage in blind consumption of unnecessary products. The company asked consumers not to buy their brand during this mass shop. Ultimately, they’re doing everything right. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any better, they go ahead and donate $10 million back to the environment. Patagonia has decided to donate this money to nonprofit groups that work on conservation and climate issues, according to Patagonia’s Chief Executive Officer Rose Marcario.

After Trump’s corporate tax cut, the company saved $10 million in federal taxes, which the outdoor company decided would better benefit the environment than the company itself. Rose Marcario, Patagonia’s CEO, wrote that “our home planet is facing its greatest crisis because of human-caused climate disruption”. She has also noted that this tax cut was “irresponsible”, stating that one of the main reasons they would be donating their saved federal taxes was because of President Trump’s blatant denial of climate change.

This marketing win is undeniable. We see a huge, influential company, standing up and fighting against climate change. We see powerful voices speaking up against deliberate ignorance. By Patagonia donating $10 million that they could have so easily kept within the company, they have banded together with millions of other passionate advocates, putting their name is shining lights. This donation has made people look at Patagonia differently, knowing that they fight for our planet. This is marketing done right.

Marketing Fail: Espresso Gone Wrong

Now we take a look at something a little bit different. This advertisement was not nearly as clear cut as Patagonia’s. Starbucks put out an advertisement that unintentionally ended up being extremely confusing.

At the beginning of the New Year, Starbucks debuted their new blonde espresso. What could go wrong with that? Who doesn’t love coffee? Basically, the advertisement should have been proof read. It was awkward, confusing, and overall almost unintelligible. The ad read:

“Who says espresso has to be intense?

We have for 43 years.

But we’re Starbucks Coffee Company.

So we did the exact opposite”.

At first glance, the wording is kind of confusing. And then at second glance…it’s still confusing. What are you trying to say, Starbucks? Is the espresso intense, or not? It feels like they were trying so hard to be edgy and rebellious. But they are definitely not reaching what they’re striving for. Not only was the initial advertisement completely confusing, but the coffee cups they rolled out with the same blonde agenda were equally odd. These cups were covered in a huge statement reading: BLONDE BREAKS RULES. People started to wonder…was this about more than just coffee?

Apparently, this was Starbucks’ attempt to appeal to the other crowd of coffee drinkers…the coffee drinkers who usually compare Starbucks coffee to battery acid. The blonde roast was intended to be milder, smoother, an overall easier espresso compared to Starbucks classic roast. Ultimately, they sold more coffee, and they may have opened their demographic up to a wider range of coffee addicts…But in the end, their advertisement that was (presumably) designed to come off as edgy and rebellious, just ended up coming off as gibberish, with a slight hint of sexism.

advertising, consumers, marketing, marketing win/marketing fail