Starbucks VIA Launch: Not Bad, Not Great

Let’s just get this out of the way: Starbucks is really a social media platinum brand. Their ability to foster their social media presence as the customer service interaction for their international brand through @Starbucks is really quite remarkable. But even still, and it is always easier on the sidelines, Starbucks had a few things that could have taken them to another level with their latest VIA product launch. Some might argue that what they have done thus far is already successful, but my perspective is there is always room for improvement and with this being their largest launch since Vivano which in my opinion failed miserably every avenue MUST be considered.

Starbucks VIA Launch

Starbucks VIA Launch

Currently Starbucks is running a VIA Experience contest that allows for Starbucks fans to further pledge their allegiance by consuming and evangelizing their new line of instant coffee. Their entries can be taken via blood samples showing toxic levels of caffeine or….no no, wait that is a different Starbucks promotion. This contest can be entered via photo, essay, or video submission. The response just judging by the amount of entries has been pretty fantastic. Although I noticed something failing pretty heavily; check the grade below to find out.



  1. Starbucks has an amazing social media arm, even the failures have wins within them.
  2. User interaction is very high judging by the contest submissions thus far.
  3. They have done a great job of integrating many platforms: Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, etc.
  4. Their contest incentive is great. There should be awesome pull from this alone. Free coffee is always a good sell.


  1. The Twitter syndication engine is a complete failure. The engine is supposed to allow you to vote and ‘share’ your favorite submissions; these vote are what drives the entire contest. Weeks into the contest this should be a non-issue. I was wondering why there were no tweets of submissions, and this is why. QA failed you guys.
    Starbucks VIA error

    Starbucks VIA error

  2. In store presence for this launch has been awesome, but there is zero mention of the contest. Brands that continue to not be cohesive on their launches are asking to be beat in their respective marketplaces.
  3. Lastly, shouldn’t there be a Twitter contest? I know you have the current one going, but it seems that Mevolving, an independent blog is using your launch to promote her blog. How is that for souring your biggest product launch, Starbucks? Whoops she stole your thunder!
  4. Would have been so hard to throw up a Facebook fanpage?

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  1. Thanks for the mention! I had actually contacted SB to see if they would be interested in throwing in a coupon or two for their customers opinions but received the generic “we do our own charity work, thank you” response. It doesn’t bother me in the least though, my local barista was more than happy to help and I’ve received a lot of new readers as well as a nice spot on the Via website twitter updates! 🙂


  2. Amy thanks for the response!

    Such a shame that their direct contact methods are so sub par. They do such a good job pushing their My Starbucks Idea, however their social media arm ends at any true two way collaboration right now it seems. In either case, great job on harnessing the VIA launch! Great blog as well, I will check back often!

  3. Hi,

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the great work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.


  4. Intriguing, how would I use this?

  5. Nice article. Its really intersting.

  6. Thank you for breaking this down for most of all of us. We’d like much more of this! Thank you.

  7. This is really a nice post. Thanks for sharing this one.

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