Starbucks Launches First Brand Campaign, 'Meet Me at Starbucks'

Documentary-Style Video Shows a Day in the Life of Starbucks

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Starbucks is launching its first brand campaign, and it's doing it ambitiously.

For the global campaign, called "Meet me at Starbucks," the coffee giant isn't focusing on products like it normally does in its ads. Rather, it's focusing on the brand by chronicling a day in the life of Starbucks through a mini-documentary, shot in 59 different stores in 28 countries, using 39 local filmmakers, 10 local photographers and one director coordinating it all at 72andSunny, the agency responsible for the work. Each part of the ambitious project was shot in the same 24-hour period, producing 220 hours of footage, and features various subjects -- from a hearing-impaired group meeting, to a group of women discussing scrapbooking, to elderly couples to teenage friends -- going about their business at Starbucks.

Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills said the campaign stems from the idea that there are so many easy ways to be connected thanks to technology, but "we're not really connected unless we're face to face." Three spots that launched recently, created by Omnicom's BBDO, were the precursor to 72andSunny's work and help illustrate that point., she said.

The work that 72andSunny did originates from Starbucks' monitoring its customers on social media. Ms. Mills said that the company noticed multiple videos on YouTube of Starbucks fans and found "there were stories that were taking place inside out stores." She said the original intention was to create a film based on those videos, but the idea grew, so the company enlisted 72andSunny to take on the bigger project.

Cities the project was filmed in include New York, Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, Singapore, Beijing, Mumbai, Toronto, Paris and Berlin.

"Every day around the world, millions of people gather at Starbucks, but it's never been just about the coffee," says the text at the beginning of the documentary. It goes on to show various people around the world and what they do when they go to Starbucks.

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A 60-second spot, which is a distilled version of the documentary, will begin airing Monday morning in the U.S.; the documentary will be on YouTube the same day, with a YouTube homepage takeover Oct. 1. Ms. Mills said that the campaign is intended to be ongoing, and individual markets around the globe could potentially air TV spots. Other media in the campaign include display ads, with buys across multiple news sites, along with an instagram hashtag #HowWeMet, where Starbucks will encourage users to take photos illustrating how people met. Additional social-media efforts for "Meet me at Starbucks" will include Twitter and Tumblr.

On Youtube, the nearly 6-minute documentary video has what Ms. Mills called an interactive element to it: prompts during the video will allow viewers to watch mini-documentaries about some of the subjects. When that mini-documentary is done, viewers seamlessly can go back to viewing the documentary, Ms. Mills said. One mini-documentary follows a deaf woman in Honolulu who said she felt isolated from most conversations until she learned about a group of deaf friends who held meetings at a local Starbucks.

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