MSNBC, Starbucks Brew Up Morning Joe Sponsorship Deal

MSNBC has brewed up a sponsorship deal with Starbucks that positions the coffee chain as the title sponsor of the daily news program Morning Joe.

Per terms of the agreement, the Starbucks brand will be visible at various points in MSNBC’s weekday 6 a.m.-9 a.m. news show, via graphic elements like billboards and banners and on-set placement. The latter portion of the deal is nothing new; co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are often seen drinking out of Starbucks cups, so much so that many viewers already assumed that MSNBC was compensated for the integration.

Appearing on this morning’s show at around 8:45 a.m. EDT, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the integration was a “natural fit” for both parties. “Coffee has been a part of conversation for so many years….The equity of the Starbucks brand and what [Morning Joe] have brought television is such that we could do to things together that, in a traditional advertising and marketing sense, no company has done before. This could be a breakthrough for us and for you.”

In that same segment, guest commentator Donnie Deutsch said the deal was representative of what can happen when corporate higher-ups negotiate without any input from the middleman. “[MSNBC president] Phil Griffin] told me you both sat down and just hammered it out on a napkin as opposed to 100 guys from the agency and 100 guys from marketing getting involved,” Deutsch said. “If more top guys could just get together, there’d be smarter deals like this.”

Schultz was on hand to inaugurate the deal, which kicked in Monday morning. Along with placement, the coffee giant will be twinned with the name of the program in graphics and voice-overs that inform viewers that Morning Joe is “brewed by Starbucks.”

Scarborough acknowledged the role Starbucks has played in the life of the show, which debuted in 2007. “People have asked us for years how much we’re paid to drink your coffee,” he told Schultz. (In addition to the implicit pun on Scarborough’s first name, the “O” in the titular “Joe” is rendered as a coffee ring in the show’s logo.)

Starbucks is believed to have committed $10 million to the Morning Joe deal, per earlier reports.


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