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Starbucks relies on SMS to help promote Frappuccino Happy Hour


Starbucks is letting coffee lovers know about its upcoming Frappuccino Happy Hour via an SMS initiative that sends out daily reminders to consumers.

Starbucks sent out an email blast to its My Starbucks Rewards consumers earlier this week. The email included an SMS call to action.

“Long before SMS was so widely adopted, I worked at an agency on a campaign that reminded consumers with a reveille call in front of coffee houses that they needed an afternoon wakeup,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer at Hipcricket.

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“Starbucks’ unrelated program takes into account the fact that mobile users quickly look at text messages,” he said.

Mr. Hasen is not affiliated with Starbucks. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Starbucks did not respond to press inquiries.

Cup of mobile
Via the email campaign, Starbucks is encouraging consumers to text the keyword HAPPY to the short code 697289.

When consumers text-in they receive a message thanking them for signing up for a Frappuccino Happy Hour reminder.

Additionally, if consumers want to opt out of the reminders they can reply STOP HAPPY.

The campaign is a great way for Starbucks to keep its users in the know of any ongoing promotions.

Although an email campaign is a good way to let consumers know about the promotion, SMS is ideal for keeping that conversation going.

By having consumers opt-in, Starbucks is also building a relationship with both new and existing customers.

From there, the coffee giant is able to send other relevant messages to engage consumers.

King of SMS
Starbucks is no stranger to SMS.

Earlier this year, the company ramped up its mobile strategy and encouraged consumers to sign up for its My Starbucks Rewards program via an in-store call to action.

Via the My Starbucks Rewards program, consumers can earn rewards when they pay with their Starbucks Card. Free drinks and refills are one of the perks of the program (see story).

“It also plays on the effectiveness of a permission-based SMS that gives a consumer what he or she wants,” Mr. Hasen said.

“Email doesn’t provide such immediacy, so employing SMS in this case is smart,” he said. 

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

Associate Editor Rimma Kats covers media, television, research and social networks. Reach her at rimma@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Messaging, Starbucks, SMS, Jeff Hasen, mobile marketing, mobile

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Comments on "Starbucks relies on SMS to help promote Frappuccino Happy Hour"

  1. Dan LaCob says:

    May 15, 2012 at 11:04am

    I still think they did well with the campaign. I think the whole idea was letting people know how long they could get the deal so they could maximize their sales & retention on the SMS Happy List. I might of opted out after the 2nd reminder, but since I knew the campaign was running all week, I chose stay on.
  2. Tino Corsetti says:

    May 10, 2012 at 5:47am

    The whole happy hour campaign must be successful because they are repeating it from last year. As a regular SBs customer, I have to say that during happy hour, the store environment is zoo-like and the opposite of happy. It creates a very unpleasant, herd atmosphere and makes the store a no-go zone for the duration of the campaign for me.
  3. Jim M says:

    May 5, 2012 at 10:55am

    Carrie, I believe they are in compliance. Replying STOP HAPPY will opt them out of that program only, which I suspect is what Starbucks wants. If their platform works like mine, then if a person was subscribed to multiple campaigns, using the keyword is the quickest way to be opted out. Otherwise, if subscribed to multiple campaigns, the subscriber would get a message back asking which campaign do they want to be opted out from with a list of the campaigns. This is an extra step the subscriber doesn't need to do if they only want to opt-out of the HAPPY campaign.
  4. Antonio Pican says:

    May 4, 2012 at 5:49pm


    The offer was good for a week, people are going now and throughout the week.
  5. Carrie C says:

    May 4, 2012 at 10:03am

    From a compliance perspective having customers reply STOP HAPPY and not using the standard MMA/CTIA keywords for opting out is risky for Starbucks. Customers should be able to just reply STOP especially given the frequency of this campaign.
  6. Dick Larkin says:

    May 4, 2012 at 6:27am

    Starbucks may be no stranger to sms but they made two rookie mistakes with their message.
    1. The blast was sent on 5/3 but the offer did not start until the following day 5/4. This misses the critical immediacy value that sms delivers.
    2. Stating that the offer is good for an entire week kills the urgency of a message. Rather they could have included a one day "right now" deal.
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