Starbucks Taps Omnicom's Integer For Efforts Outside Its Stores

Chain Is Aggressively Looking To Grow All Areas Of Its Business

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Image from Starbucks' most recent branding effort
Image from Starbucks' most recent branding effort

Omnicom Group's Integer Group has been added to the Starbucks roster after the coffee giant sought an agency for a big push for its packaged products sold in grocery stores.

"Integer will work on brand work for the marketing of our At Home Coffee portfolio including new item launches and core business across relevant mediums," a Starbucks spokeswoman said in an email.

Starbucks earlier this summer was seeking a shopper-marketing-oriented agency -- one with a heavy digital bent -- for Starbucks' packaged products such as bagged coffee, Via instant coffee, K-Cups, Starbucks Refreshers and its bottled Frappuccino. The search was internally led.

That Starbucks is looking to grow its shopper efforts is significant, suggesting that the company is looking to more aggressively encourage consumers to consider its products in grocery stores, drug stores and club stores -- a major portion of Starbucks' business.

It's not clear when Integer's work will launch. But the grocery aisle is a major point of competition and focus for the coffee-chain category, and will likely remain so, as Kraft and McDonald's early next year will roll out the McDonald's McCafe-branded bagged coffee.

Starbucks has been working to grow its business in all areas with everything from tea to its bakery case to lunch and even wine and snacks in-store. In recent years, it has acquired bakery brand La Boulange, tea brand Teavana and juice maker Evolution Fresh. It also started getting serious about carbonated drinks with the advent of its Fizzio brand. And it's pushing into homes and single-serve coffee with its Verismo coffee machine.

A spokeswoman for Integer did not comment. However, the agency noted on its facebook page: "Excited to announce that Starbucks has selected Integer as lead agency for Channel Brand Management, leading the development of integrated marketing programs for Starbucks-owned brands sold in U.S. food, drug, mass and club."

Integer, a promotion shop, falls under the TBWA network within Omnicom, but sibling agency BBDO handles a large chunk of creative for Starbucks. MDC's 72andSunny also handles creative for Starbucks, and both 72andSunny and BBDO recently released work related to Starbucks first branding campaign, "Meet me at Starbucks."

Since Global CMO Sharon Rothstein joined Starbucks in March 2013, the company has tweaked its agency relationships. As Starbucks was was reaching out to agencies for the shopper push, it named Spark its new media agency in June. In fall 2013, Starbucks stepped outside its relationship with BBDO and reached out to agencies for potential work, a move that resulted in the relationship with 72andSunny, whose first work included the campaign in May for Starbucks' new Oprah chai.

Starbucks in July reported global same-store sales up 6% for its most recent quarter, with U.S. same-store sales rising 7%. Starbucks is on an extended kick of reporting positive same-store sales, outperforming much of the quick-service restaurant category. The chain's U.S. system-wide sales in 2013 were $11.7 billion, up a whopping 10.3%, making it the third-largest chain in the country behind McDonald's and Subway, according to Technomic.

Starbucks is a bit of an anomaly in the fast-food category in terms of marketing spending. Most chains its size and larger spend hundreds of millions of dollars, yet in 2013, the company spent about $95 million on U.S. measured media, according to WPP's Kantar Media, up from $85.5 million in 2012. In 2011, the company spent about $109 million on U.S. measured media.

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