Starbucks made a huge splash with the opening of its first Evolution Fresh juice bar in Bellevue, Wash., today by misspelling the word "vegetable" in a promotional image being used to promote the launch. As Huffington Post reported, the graphic included the text "Most Fruits and Vegatables Are Fat and Cholesterol Free," guaranteeing that the coffee chain would pick up the wrong kind of coverage on the juice bar's opening day.
This error helped Starbucks lose control of its message that it was expanding beyond coffee, froth and muffins into new territory and a new revenue stream. Instead, the overt message is that Starbucks can't be bothered to spell correctly, and the underlying message is that Starbucks rushed into this expansion, has drifted into a market without proper preparation and probably can't produce a superior juice product. That's a lot to infer from a spelling error, but that's the impression it leaves—and first impressions count for a lot.
Starbucks announced the opening of its first Evolution Fresh store on March 19, saying that the Bellevue "opening and refreshed branding positions Evolution Fresh as a leader in the $3.4 billion and growing cold-crafted juice category and furthers its commitment to evolve and enhance the customer experience with innovative and wholesome products."
The misspelling in the marketing image made the rounds on the Web, garnering plenty of mockery ("Drink caffeine. Do stupid things faster with more energy. Without proofreading"..."truth is, all these Starbucks side projects seem to go under"..."I hope they show more attention to detail when mixing the ingredients of their juices.")
For many this might seem like a minor issue, but at Starbucks headquarters you can be sure that the wisecracks are being monitored and that there is a sense of an opportunity having been derailed.
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