Jonathan’s Card a Clever Starbucks Viral Marketing Stunt?

I wrote yesterday about what appeared to be an unusual but interesting experiment by a lone developer who made his Starbucks card account useable by anyone. He did this by publishing the QR code that is displayed by the iPhone and Android Starbucks apps for payment when at a Starbucks. He asked that people refill the card and tweeted the amount of money held by the virtual card. Over $5,000 had been added to the card in 19 days since the start of the so-called experiment.

Twitter+Starbucks App Account = Social Coffee Experiment : Jonathan’s Card

However, the coffee business strategies blog (Andrew Hetzel) did a bit of detective work and concludes that Jonathan’s card is a Starbucks viral marketing campaign. Hetzel found that Jonathan Stark is Vice President of Application Architecture for Mobiquity which listed Starbucks as a client until the client page was removed.

Starbucks and the ‘Starkbucks’ Jonathan’s Card Viral Marketing Campaign

Was it a stunt paid for by Starbucks? If so, it was a clever one that got a lot of people to write about it and only cost $5000+ whatever fee Mobiquity received to run it.