2024-06-17 00:38:38
Starbucks brews weak promotions market data/middlemen/movies/music/news


Starbucks may not be the powerful promotional partner Hollywood thought it would be.

Classics’ “Arctic Tale” has become the second pic backed by the coffee
giant not able to translate the company’s caffeine buzz into strong box
office. (Starbucks previously backed Lionsgate’s “Akeelah and the Bee.”)

environmentally focused docu revolving around polar bears and walruses
has earned $484,000 since bowing July 25. Pic’s widest opening on 227
theaters occurred in its fourth week of release Aug. 17. It plays in
158 venues in its fifth frame this weekend.

National Geographic
Films produced “Arctic,” as well as surprise hit “March of the
Penguins,” which went on to earn $77 million for Warner Independent in

Par Classics (a division of Paramount Vantage) had hoped
the success of the penguin tale would rub off on its own pic and help
sell more tickets.

But it also hoped that having Starbucks aboard
would raise awareness for the film and entice the company’s 44 million
weekly customers to hit the multiplexes.

Starbucks installed
signage and stickers in 6,800 of its stores, printed “Arctic”-branded
cup sleeves, sold plush walruses and the pic’s soundtrack and sponsored
discussions in select stores nationwide about climate change. Materials
for the movie also appear on the company’s website.

Chain doesn’t
have video screens in its stores as rival Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
does, so footage from a pic it pushes can’t be displayed in stores.

Campaign runs in stores in the U.S. and Canada through Monday.

said it didn’t go further and create a themed Frappuccino, for example,
because it didn’t want to overly commercialize the tie-in.

all of our entertainment options, we are careful to promote our
products and projects in a tasteful manner and not to interfere with
the coffeehouse experience,” said Ken Lombard, prexy of Starbucks

Starbucks’ pic deals go beyond a traditional promo
pact like that of, say, General Motors for “Transformers,” because
Starbucks collects a percentage of a movie’s profits in return for its
marketing muscle.

And that unusual payoff pact winds up putting a
bigger spotlight on the results of the films the company decides to
back — especially given that Starbucks does not invest in the
production of the films it promotes.

Promo partners are
increasingly becoming a studio’s best friend, with brands ponying up
their own marketing dollars to help push pics and make their companies
seem more appealing to customers through entertainment tie-ins.

has long been considered a potential powerhouse for Hollywood,
especially after helping launch music artists and assisting more
familiar ones to sell CDs.

But it hasn’t fared as well on the film front.

Tale’s” performance has been chilly so far. Its $484,000 compares with
the $4 million “Penguins” had earned by the end of its fourth week when
it played on 132 screens.

“Akeelah,” the first film Starbucks
promoted, ultimately earned $19 million. Pic still turned a profit
given its $8 million production budget (Lionsgate spent around $20
million to market it). But industryites had expected it to earn more
given Starbucks’ backing and rhetoric from the Seattle-based company
that it’s a bona fide entertainment player.

“We are an innovative
company that is not afraid to go outside of our comfort zone, and
‘Akeelah’ and ‘Arctic Tale’ showed us the coffeehouse can be a means to
introduce films to our customers they might not normally be exposed
to,” Lombard said.

Pics also are a way to associate Starbucks with a particular message — climate change in the case of “Arctic Tale.”

introduced ‘Arctic Tale’ to our customers because we want to spark a
dialogue about environmental issues,” Lombard said. “The coffeehouse is
a great place to inspire such discussion. There is no more important
issue facing our planet today than climate change.” The tie-in was an
“avenue to get people of all ages to talk … and hopefully be inspired
to be a part of the solution.”

But studios ultimately want
Starbucks customers to be inspired to buy tickets; the B.O. tallies
show that Starbucks may still need to massage its marketing efforts
when it comes to studio partnerships.

When it announced the
“Arctic Tale” deal, Lombard said the company had “learned its lesson”
as a result of its “Akeelah” campaign, saying it needed to make a
better effort to let customers know it wants them to “go see” the films
it promotes.

“We are still evaluating our ‘Arctic Tale’
promotion,” Lombard said. “Nonetheless, we are always looking to
provide tangible customer experiences that educate and inspire
discussion and go beyond traditional movie marketing.”

Vantage and National Geographic Films execs say that while they’re
disappointed with the B.O. for “Arctic Tale,” they’re happy with
Starbucks’ effort and look forward to sales of the eventual DVD in the
company’s stores.

“They were great partners and awesome to work
with,” said one National Geographic exec. “They did everything they
said they would do. I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.”

some of the negative critical reaction to the U.S. version of “Arctic
Tale,” National Geographic Films is lobbying to sell the European
version of the docu on DVD, complete with a different score, songs and

Starbucks pushed a healthy number of “Akeelah” DVDs.
It’s also sold other studio titles like Warner Bros.’ “Happy Feet” and
Sony’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

But then again, a DVD can be easily picked up and purchased as a customer is ordering a grande vanilla latte.

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