Ad of the Day: Starbucks Tells Your Story, Not Its Own, in First Global Brand Campaign

The world's ubiquitous host

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Need a place where you can audition someone for your band? Where you can haul your giant computer equipment for a geeky meeting? Where you can fuel up with your fellow bikers? Where you can celebrate a birthday, reconnect with a long-lost friend or just engage in a little PDA?

There's a Starbucks for that.

The coffee giant rolled out its first global brand campaign on Monday. And the focus is very much not on Starbucks (well, kind of not on Starbucks) but on the millions of people who get together at its stores every day—and the stories they have to tell.

The feel-good theme is "Meet me at Starbucks," and the centerpiece—a five-minute-plus mini documentary by 72andSunny—shows people doing just that. It was culled from 220 hours of footage filmed in a single 24-hour period in 59 Starbucks stores (including the one I visited this morning, on Astor Place in New York) in 28 countries by 39 local filmmakers and 10 local photographers.

We get to visit everywhere from Rio de Janeiro to Bogota, Singapore to Beijing, Mumbai to Toronto, Paris to Berlin to Istanbul. And the bonhomie—like your latte—appears to be much the same wherever you go.

Last week we posted some new Starbucks work by BBDO New York that was very minimalist—images of text-message conversations cleverly showed how meeting people face to face is better than communicating virtually. The new campaign has the same message, but the style is sprawling by comparison.

On YouTube, the five-minute film is interactive, giving you options to watch eight other films that tell the stories of different eclectic groups who regularly get together at Starbucks. We meet scrapbookers in Long Beach, N.Y.; postcard-sending fanatics in the Czech Republic; women practicing the art of knot tying in Japan; a hearing-impaired group meeting weekly in Honolulu; and more. (The film was cut into 30- and 60-second TV ads.)

If that's not enough, you can click on "Gallery Mode" and get a whole screen full of smaller screens—with little films and vignettes everywhere you look. If this smorgasbord of virtual content doesn't convince you to stop consuming virtual content and go meet someone face to face, nothing will. (Actually, it's not that easy to embed anything except the main film, and perhaps that's a way to prevent virtual sprawl.)

Rather than make any real argument for getting together at Starbucks specifically, the campaign assumes you probably already do. (It takes a brand of Starbucks' size to say things like, "It's never been just about the coffee.") And so the brand happily blends into the background. It's so ubiquitous, it's almost invisible. It's the happy host. And it lets the consumer be the hero.

What the campaign does suggest about Starbucks, though, is that it's not just the unthinking, inevitable choice. Indeed, everyone here is thinking, and feeling, very deeply indeed. It's not just what everyone does. It's what interesting, passionate people do—and it's what they choose to do.

"Good things happen when we get together. See you tomorrow," says the copy at the end. It's hard to argue with the first statement. The second, despite the phrasing, is actually up to you. And if the campaign does what it's supposed to, it will feel like a real choice—and one you'll gladly make.


Agency: 72andSunny

Glenn Cole, Chief Creative Officer

John Boiler, CEO

Grant Holland , Group Creative Director

Chiyong Jones, CD/CW

Gui Borchert, CD/Designer

Jc Abbruzzi , Lead Writer

Warren Frost, Lead Designer

Martin Schubert, Jr. Writer

Natalie Viklund, Jr. Designer

Aaron Tourtellot, Jr. Designer

Matt Swenson, Creative Technologist

Matt Jarvis, Chief Strategy Officer

Kelly Schoeffel, Co-Head of Strategy

Elisha Greenwell, Strategy Director

Chris Kay, Managing Director, LA

Josh Jefferis, Brand Director

Celeste Hubbard, Brand Manager

Alex Belliveau, Brand Coordinator

Tom Dunlap, Chief Production Officer

Sam Baerwald, Director of Film Production

Dominique Anzano, Calleen Colburn, Ellen Pot, Sr. Film Producers

Peter Williams, Film Producer

Heather Wischmann, Director of Interactive Production

Ruben Barton, Sr. Interactive Producer

Adrienne Alexander, Interactive Producer

Jason Heinz, Sr. Analyst

Melissa Bell, UX Design Director

Chip Davis, UX Designer

Michelle McKinney, Business Affairs Director

Christina Rust, Business Affairs Manager

Jesse Sinkiewicz, Business Affairs Coordinator

Production Company: m ss ng p eces, in collaboration with Co.MISSION Content

Josh Nussbaum, Director

Kate Oppenheim, Ari Kuschnir, Brian Latt, Executive Producers

Dave Saltzman, Head of Production

Mike Prall, Producer

Harrison Winter, Co.MISSION Content Group EP / CEO

Kris L. Young, Co.MISSION Content Group President

Ideas United

David Roemer, CEO

Tammi Montier, Business Development

Aaron Azpiazu, Partner Manager

Editorial: Cut & Run, Los Angeles

Michelle Eskin, Managing Director

Carr Schilling, Executive Producer

Remy Foxx, Post Producer

Lucas Eskin, Stephen Berger, Isaac Chen, Sean Stender, Kendra Juul, Editors

Brian Meagher, Christopher Malcolm Kasper, Assistant Editors

Editorial: 72andSunny Studio

John Keaney, Director of Operations

Nick Gartner, Editor

Becca Purice, Producer

VFX: Jogger

David Parker, Creative Director

Matthew Lydecker, Artist

Megan Kennedy, Producer

Liz Lydecker, Sr. Producer

Telecine: CO3

Sean Coleman, Colorist

Mix: Play Studios

John Bolen, Ryan Sturup, Mixers

Lauren Cascio, Executive Producer


Keith Kenniff, Unseen Music

Jóhann Jóhannsson

Youth Faire

Andrew Simple

Interactive: Stopp/Family

CEO/Executive Producer: Fredrik Frizell

Executive Producer: Eric Shamlin

Producer: Callan Koenig

Creative Director: Zachary Richter

Associate Creative Director: Abe Cortes

Junior Designer: April DiMartile

UX: Wai Shun Yeong

Junior UX: I.K Olumu

Technical Director: Ola Björling

Backend Developer: Mattias Hedman

Frontend Developer: Jin Kim

Subtitle Developer: Brian Hodge

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.