Is Coffee the New Chocolate?

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, singles and couples alike are scrambling to make plans for the big day in hopes of not spending it alone. Behind Christmas, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest money makers for American businesses, with over half of American citizens celebrating the holiday each year. This year, it is expected that Valentine’s Day spending will soar to over $15.7 billion. That is why businesses change, alter, and incorporate unique aspects into their marketing strategies in order to capitalize on the large population of Valentine’s Day spenders.

Starbucks, like many other businesses, has turned holidays into commodities by associating their coffee with the feeling of ‘love.’ This year, they’ve teamed up with Match.com, a dating website, to create the World’s Largest Coffee Date. According to the profiles on Match.com, meeting for coffee is one of the most common first dates, so Match.com has created a “Meet at Starbucks” feature to facilitate easy coffee dates in the future. This not only increases Starbucks’ audience, but also gives consumers a more in-depth experience with their brand.

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Additionally, on February 13th from 2 p.m. to close, Starbucks across the country will host the World’s Largest #Starbucksdate, which will promote people meeting and talking for the first time over a cup of coffee. Coffee drinkers are prompted by the Starbucks website to “invite someone” to join them on a #Starbucksdate. Anyone can create an invitation and send it to whomever they want to invite them to join in a Valentine’s Day coffee date. This illustrates the commodification of Valentine’s Day by using a tangible product–coffee–to represent or be exchanged for the feeling of love or friendship.

Starbucks will offer a special menu for two that includes drink and dessert pairings for only five dollars. For example, one pairing on the menu is the White Chocolate Mocha and a heart-shaped cookie. Starbucks will also be enhancing the ambiance by having live music and props to take pictures with to document your #Starbucksdate. This will help to create a memorable and positive brand association with Starbucks for consumers who don’t usually drink their coffee.

While this may seem like an elaborate scheme to get people to drink their coffee, Starbucks was smart when they decided to market themselves in conjunction with Match.com. Coffee is a common first date commodity, so it only makes sense to combine Valentine’s Day, first dates, and coffee to create the perfect marketing trifecta.

Would you participate in the World’s Largest #Starbucksdate?

– Anna Joy Zima, Hannah Rodgers, Kaitlyn Russell

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2 thoughts on “Is Coffee the New Chocolate?

  1. I enjoyed reading this post because coming from a person who loves both chocolate and coffee…I can’t believe I am saying this, but I think coffee may be the new chocolate! People may not eat chocolate everyday, but most certainly drink coffee everyday. Therefore, I think Starbucks was so smart in combining with match.com to advertise Valentine’s Day. In the social media craze our society is currently in, where even most couples now meet online, this ad speaks to mostly everyone. Coffee dates are casual, less nerve-wrecking, and are easy for people to talk to each other if they have never met before. Starbucks knows this, match.com knows this, and so this magically ad appeared from both worlds of coffee and online-dating services. And to even throw in that a special pairings menu will be available, kind of seems like a done deal! If I were partnered up on match.com, I would go to this Starbucks event…so it is safe to say that this ad sold me.

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