In Fall 2001, Starbucks Coffee Company was celebrating its 30th Anniversary. From the first store in Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market in 1971, to a world-renown brand, with more than 15 million customers a week, the company had never lost sight of its values and roots. Starbucks wanted to celebrate 30 years of passion and thank customers for their support.

Starbucks enlisted Edelman Worldwide/Seattle to develop a campaign to educate and target audiences about Starbucks’ commitment to the communities in which it does business, to thank customers, to further position the company as coffee experts, to build community good will, and to ultimately drive sales.

The PR plan included celebrating the anniversary with a community party in Seattle, and supporting events around the country; announcing a major, new philanthropic endeavor in conjunction with the celebration; and utilizing company chairman, Howard Schultz, to deliver key messages via the media.


To determine the best execution, Edelman worked jointly with Starbucks Worldwide Public Affairs and Starbucks Marketing to assess strategies and media coverage associated with the 25th Anniversary marketing campaign and to get a better understanding of what key Starbucks executives wanted to communicate via this 30th Anniversary campaign.  It was important to all involved that the gratitude felt for customer loyalty was clearly communicated and Starbucks’ roots were saluted, which solidified that the flagship celebration should be held in Seattle.

Additionally, a substantial media audit drove the strategic decision to conduct a satellite media tour (SMT) from the first Starbucks store in Seattle rather than from a local studio or traveling to other cities for in-person interviews.  Emphasis was placed on the top 15 Starbucks markets (determined by annual sales) while booking the SMT to secure media coverage that would ultimately drive traffic to top performing stores. The caché of the first store also provided a very strong visual and photo opportunity for local media outlets and national wire services.

Finally, the team assisted Starbucks in monitoring potential protest activity to create alternative plans if needed.


· Educate consumers about Starbucks’ 30th Anniversary on a national level through media coverage in top 15 Starbucks markets
· Media coverage to include at least one of three key messages
· Reinforce Starbucks’ longstanding commitment to literacy through Jumpstart partnership announcement
· Drive incremental store sales during anniversary launch week
· Create a flagship anniversary celebration, securing 500 Seattle-area attendees


· Greater Seattle residents
· Consumers in U.S. and Canada -   
· Starbucks customers
· Media (as a conduit to above audiences)—
· Local Seattle-area and Washington state print and broadcast
· National broadcast outlets and local affiliates
· Top 100 daily papers (business and food writers)
· Food trade publications


· Corporate anniversaries are soft news
· Starbucks was unable to have corresponding events in all stores throughout the country
· Only four weeks to concept, plan and execute
· Complicated literacy messaging
· Minimal name recognition of Jumpstart, a non-profit literacy organization
· Additional literacy program, Starbucks All Books for Children Book Drive, was also happening in stores, and had a five-year history and name recognition


· Supplement in-store marketing with out-of-store media coverage to drive anniversary weekend sales
· Integrate external messages with existing marketing, and advertising message, “Thank You for Sharing Our Passion for Coffee”
· Showcase Starbucks’ 30 years of coffee industry leadership, reinforcing position as top national brand
· Utilize Starbucks’ first store in the historic Pike Place Market as the focal point of nationwide SMT
· Local
· Leverage Starbucks celebrity partners (Earvin “Magic” Johnson) and government officials (Governor of Washington and Mayor of Seattle) to generate local media coverage/interest
· Create celebratory atmosphere in high traffic area to ensure walk-up attendance

· Generate broadcast media coverage via satellite media tour, live from first store in Seattle
· Feature Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and chief global strategist
· Provide info about additional celebrations in stores across the U.S. and Canada
· Comprehensive media outreach to 300+ national and local broadcast, print and radio outlets
· Focus on short lead media, per event timeline
· Create press materials to carry key messages—including an anniversary press release, Jumpstart and All Books for Children fact sheet, Starbucks history timeline and event media alert
· Host community “Anniversary Celebration” at first Starbucks store, including celebrity appearance by basketball legend and Starbucks’ business partner Earvin “Magic” Johnson
· Create awareness of local event, and drive traffic via local radio promotion, VIP invitations and flyers for area businesses

Seattle Anniversary Celebration Tactics

Create a celebratory, mediagenic event:  Source silver tiaras (replicas of that worn by Starbucks Siren) to be worn by event guests to create photo opportunity; utilize AP Photo wire to distribute a captivating image of Seattle event; secure event attendance by Washington state Governor Gary Locke and Seattle Mayor Paul Schell; work with the Mayor’s office to officially proclaim Sept. 7, 2001 as “Starbucks Day”; enlist Seattle Art Institute students to create a 3-foot-high, Starbucks Siren-inspired cake; hire Pike Place Market musicians as entertainment; arrange for free sampling from multiple Starbucks joint venture partners

On-site event management: Facilitate press interviews; manage 100+ Starbucks partner volunteers, vendors and VIPs

Drive attendance: Distribute email invitation to Starbucks database; make anniversary and event information available online at; promote internally through voicemail and email distribution to employees, as well as the company newsletter, Siren’s Tale; coordinate radio promotion with local station targeting Starbucks customer demographic


· Generated anniversary awareness through more than 45 million total media impressions
· All media coverage included primary 30th Anniversary message; more than 80 percent of coverage mentioned philanthropic efforts
· Print and broadcast coverage in all 15 top Starbucks markets: (Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Diego, Portland, Vancouver B.C., Boston, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Sacramento and Atlanta) including key appearance on CNBC Squawk Box
· Live CNN coverage from Pike Place Starbucks location for 10 hours the day of the event; package fed to approximately 700 affiliates nationwide
· Print pieces appeared on national wire services including Associated Press, Reuters and UPI
· Increased nationwide store sales by 5 percent the weekend following the Friday event

· Extensive broadcast coverage with numerous pieces from all five local television stations (KING, KOMO, KIRO, KCPQ and NWCN)
· Seattle event attendance exceeded 2,000 people, more than quadrupling goal of 500 attendees
· Reinforced messages about Starbucks commitment to communities, specifically in Seattle