For more than a year, TVNewser readers have wondered whether the Starbucks coffee seen on the Morning Joe set was part of some product placement deal. The answer was always “no” — until today. The show and the the coffee company have formed a “marketing relationship,” in a deal estimated at more than $10 million.
“It’s been organic,” said Joe Scarborough on the air today during an interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. “People have asked us for years, Howard, how much does Starbucks pay you to drink your coffee, the product placement is wonderful.”
“Coffee has been part of conversation for so many years, it was just a natural fit,” said Schultz.
CNBC’s Donny Deutsch, who was on-set, described the agreement between Schultz and MSNBC president Phil Griffin, saying they “sat down and hammered out the deal on a napkin.”
The deal includes using the words “brewed by Starbucks” on the logo and in teases, while cutaway shots of Starbucks logos on set were employed during the show. Already co-host Mika Brzezinski was having fun with the deal, introducing Newsweek editor Jon Meacham as “brewed to you by the Pulitzer Prize.”
One TVNewser reader, who questioned whether the deal was “crossing the line,” recalled a 1960s deal between Gulf Oil and NBC which incorporated mentions of the company during the Today show. But that was when the show was not produced by the news division. The ads ended John Chancellor took over and the program was put under the news umbrella.
MSNBC’s Griffin tells The New York Times’ Brian Stelter the program would still cover the company as news warranted. “They understand that we have standards,” he said.
What do you think? Vote below, and after the jump, the Schultz interview:
What Do You Think Of The Starbucks/Morning Joe Branded Content Deal?(polls)
Click continued to see the Schultz interview and MSNBC release…
Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) and MSNBC have formed a marketing relationship to highlight Starbucks coffee products on “Morning Joe,” the cable network’s morning program hosted by former Congressman Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. The program features interviews with top newsmakers and politicians and in-depth analysis of the day’s biggest stories.
“We are pleased to be working with MSNBC to further underscore Starbucks relevancy by extending the coffeehouse culture and combining the daily morning coffee ritual with informed discussions about important news topics,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and ceo of Starbucks. “This relationship is an example of the targeted approach we are taking to reach our customers in a meaningful fashion and highlight our exceptional coffee and values which have built our brand from the beginning.”
“We’re thrilled to have a brand leader like Starbucks associated with ‘Morning Joe’,” said Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC. “More viewers are discovering that ‘Morning Joe’ is THE place for intelligent discussion about politics. The MSNBC viewer is younger, more affluent and more highly educated than those of our competitors, making this opportunity perfect for a company like Starbucks.”
As part of the agreement, MSNBC is providing Starbucks on-air branding during the morning news program through a title sponsorship, “Morning Joe” Brewed by Starbucks. Included are graphic elements like billboards and banners, as well as online representation on msnbc.com which will highlight many of Starbucks brand values.