Starbucks “Shows Off” with Viral Marketing

We can say that brand awareness of Starbucks is the successful one, and you can easily find Starbucks coffee shop in everywhere you are. To sustain that momentum, Ian Cranna, marketing boss of Starbucks, was harnessing the power of user-generated content to humanise the brand and connect with customers in personally.

Cranna and the team, created “Meet Me at Starbucks” campaign. The company noticed that their customers were arrange to meet up at their stores everyday on social media. The “Meet Me at Starbucks” campaign was born out of the customer’s experiences that showed up on social media. The purpose of this campaign is not about product marketing anymore, but rather creating a deeper level of engagement from the moments of connection between Starcbucks customers around the world. Taking the Starbucks fans around the world, and they were encouraged to share the stories on instagram with the hastag #MeetMeAtStarbucks. This campaign just happened last September, and still happening until right now.

starbucks campaign1 starbucks campaign2















This campaign was became viral as soon as it appeared. Starbucks used instagram, as their media channel. After that a lot of people around the world posted their stories, or just posted their pictures on insatgram with that hastag. Whether it was meet up with family or friends, blind date, or even the marriage proposals. All of those moments will be expressed through user-generated content, and it became viral.

The company uses customer experience and their emotion for the Starbucks brand, and that have always been the key to Starbucks positioning it self. Starbucks customers would feel that they have a special attention from their favourite coffee’s brand. The fact that customers are keep sharing about their Starbucks stories, definitely validates the strategy.

Why that campaign became viral that fast?

As we know that customers rely on advice from others in personal or professional networks when making purchase decisions. Companies see this trends by shifting their budgets from above-the-line (mass media) to below-the-line (promotions, direct mail, viral) marketing activities. That is why viral marketing has become a hot topic, and it has a power which is allow customers mutually share and spread the information (marketing messages). Basically it called Word-of-Mouth (WOM). WOM communication particularly adding powerful new interactive on messages/information (Hinz, Oliver. 2011).

Like Starbucks campaign, people going to talked about it with each other, especially Starbucks uses Instagram as their channel. As we know that Instagram is one of the famous social media. Everyone shared their picture moments on instagram, and put the hastag on it. From that hastag, Instagram user would see how many people involved to that campaign.

Viral marketing has the aim to inform customers about the viral marketing message and to encourage them to participate in the campaign by sending and spread information to each other (Goldenberg. 2009).

But, viral marketing is not only for the campaign or even for the good news. The stupid or rubbish news also could easily go viral. Bad or stupid news is a good news.

Remember, the day when Kim Kardashian’ butt picture was everywhere (online)?

Kim kard breaks internetPaper Magazine was the one that had an exclusive interview with the queen of reality show, Kim Kardashian. With the phenomenal pictures of Kim’s body asset. Once the pictures was uploaded, not even a day, the almost naked picture of Kim Kardashian was everywhere. Basically, the article was about Kim her self, and her husband and daughter. It was only about her and how rich she is. Nothing new. But just because the pictures, that became viral. Yup, exactly, Paper Magazine and Kim Kardashian were break the internet.

The way people spread the news are unique. Some of them might spread the news in the normal way, like talking directly, post the original news to their social media. But in the unique way? As you can see ↓

kim breaks internet butt

So, be careful with the message, once the firms did anything wrong with that, it would became their own nightmare.



  • Joseph, Sebastian. (2014) Starbucks EMEA Marketing Boss on Deepening Engagement With the Brand. Marketing Week (
  • Hinz, Oliver; Skiera, Bernd; Barot, Christian; Becker, Jan U. (2011) Seeding Strategies for Viral Marketing: An Empirical Comparison. Journal of Marketing, vol. 75 issue 6, p55-71. 17p
  • Goldenberg, Jacob, Han, Sangman, & Lehmann, Donald R. (2009) The Role of Hubs in the Adoption Process. Journal of Marketing, 73 (2), 1-13



5 thoughts on “Starbucks “Shows Off” with Viral Marketing

  1. Digital marketing in today’s very big impact with the Internet that already support the capacity to do so. With a wide range and relatively low production costs compared to traditional ways. Starbucks good example of viral marketing will create a new person to try to get there and make long been a loyal customer. Nice post.. 🙂


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