On August 28th, Starbucks in China joined the rising wave of Weixin(Wechat) and launched a social mobile campaign titled “naturally awake”. I was impressed by its agile and quick adoption, but call me “nuts” if you like, I would mark a big “F” on its scorecard for this campaign. Ask me why? Then I shall proceed to spill my acid comments below.

It has been my second time writing the topic of Weixin. So I will not insult you by repeating what is, and for those who really do not know, you can read my previous introduction about it in here. Okay, back to our story of “Starbucks on Weixin”.

Its campaign is running like this:

From August 28th to September 30th, once you are connected with Starbucks on Weixin, you can send an emoticon message to Starbucks, then you would get a link with a song fitting to the mood of your emoticon. I remember I sent a “happy face”, and received a “love” theme song. You can hear it in here. Well, my ears thought it boring, made no sense to me at all, and absolutely no emotional evocation of the campaign idea of “naturally awakening”, so as to fall in love with its new beverage line of green coffee extract mixed with fruit flavor.

Additionally I received a message of an interactive question like this “If a cup of espresso coffee contains 75 milligram of caffeine, then please guess the amount of caffeine in the mid-cup of Starbucks Refresha beverage?” (The answer is 30-40 milligram by the way). Well, is it a math question or just quasi-encyclopedic question? I do not care, and do not involve into this.

Perhaps I am too cynical here. Nevertheless for a well known brand with big bucks, it should have done a so much better job for a campaign like this; thereby guess I am allowed to be cynical.

If you say it is easier to be critical than creative, then my suggestions would be:

  • More riveting music, perhaps with animated pictures, or infusing the element of mobile augmented tech is even better
  • Fun, fun, fun interactive questions for your Starbucks fans on Weixin, could be anecdote, history, travel, culture, jokes pertinent to coffee

Current digital landscape offers us kaleidoscopic-like marketing channels, but no matter how many tools we have in hand, your marketing contents should always enrapture human heart and eventually trigger engagement. Otherwise we just see lousy campaign one after another.



By Cécilia Wu
English & Chinese Editorial Manager