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Philz Coffee, Free Wifi and Facebook Fans

I spent time working at Philz Coffee yesterday (now in downtown Palo Alto - and if you haven't enjoyed Philz... hurry. It's amazing coffee). They provide free wifi and do something really simple and smart... and surprisingly unique. When you access the free wifi, you are prompted with a screen to acccept them terms & conditions. This is very normal:

When you accept the terms, most companies redirect to you an ad or content hub of some sort (here is an example from Starbucks).

Philz redirects you to their Facebook fan page. Simple. Clever. You are in Philz already... why not like their page? Why not check in? Post a picture of your coffee?

Why doesn't everyone do this? It is clearly a better return than some CPM ad that users are dying to get away from... it's relevant, not spammy and surprisingly welcome.

Starbucks Releases New Coffee Brew: Blonde Roast. Runs a Clever Facebook, Twitter Campaign.

This is a fun, light post from always-socially-creative Starbucks. Starbucks is unveiling a new coffee brew (the Blonde Roast) tomorrow (January 12th). In an effort to promote the new roast, they have created a social campaign on Facebook and Twitter called "The Roast I Love". It's clever because it's simple and fun... and leverages social data. In short: users vote for their brew of choice via Facebook and that creates a mini-infographic of sorts: - what your network drinks - what your geography drinks - what you gender prefers - what Facebook fans are saying - and what Twitter is saying

Clever. Relatively simple to create. And based on the activity stream - fans are engaging.

Starbucks Gives "Behind-the-Paywall" Access.

I logged into Starbucks' wifi this morning and was presented with the below screen. I find it fascinating that Starbucks has an ad for "full behind-the-paywall access. Free." This strikes me as very much an industry term that is neither: - well known - consumer friendly, or - flattering for the content providers (WSJ, ESPN, USA Today, NY Times)

Agree? Disagree?

PayPal, LivingSocial, Causes, Starbucks Use Brand / Community to Support Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Relief.

Yesterday, TechCrunch covered the $1m that eBay / PayPal had raised for Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. It's been heartwarming to see such big brands and platforms leverage their communities - and their scale - to promote giving. From PayPal (who is in a position to promote spending) to LivingSocial (who is matching donations) to Causes (who has the perfect community & brand) to Starbucks (who promotes giving as soon as access the web via their network)

It's terrific. A few screenshots below. This is not meant to overlook promotions by others - feel free to mention them in comments below.

PayPal homepage:




Starbucks Cards: Game Mechanics Done Well

Last week I wrote about the "do's and don'ts of gamification"... in other words, how to effectively add game mechanics to your site / service. Thanks to the success of leaders like Zynga and Foursquare, companies across different verticals are layering game mechanics to their product. In my last post, I wrote that the key to successful "gamification" is to make surre that game mechanics [are] natural, rewarding and straightforward.

Here is a great example from Starbucks (who generally always does a great job on the social and marketing fronts).

You'll notice a few things with the below screenshots:

1. It is Natural: Starbucks has not created a new program here... rather, they have tied it in to the Starbucks Card system that has been around for years. This is just an incentive to register and actively use your card.

2. It is Rewarding: In fact, the Starbucks Card program comes from the "Starbucks Rewards Team" and card-holders are notified of their status, their rewards and their goals.

3. It Progresses: As you progress through various levels are membership ("black, green, gold"), you earn different rewards. Starbucks clearly defines your 'status', your rewards and what is needed to reach the next 'level'. Again, the program is straightforward and rewarding.

4. It is Accessible Email, & Mobile: The program has several reach / access points. The emails are well crafted and targeted to the specific user's 'status' (notice below an email sent to a green member and gold member).

5. It is Social: Below you will also see an example of sharing your purchase and rewards in Facebook. The image is specific to your status / balance and is tied to a check-in via Facebook Places.

Starbucks email sent to a Gold member:

Starbucks email sent to a Green member:

What the check-in looks like on the Facebook feed

And the custom Starbucks Rewards graphic on Facebook

Facebook Now Advertising "Facebook Deals" to iPhone Users

Last week I wrote about how both Starbucks and H&M are beginning to advertise their Facebook Deals / Facebook Places campaigns. Now Facebook itself is advertising the Deals Platform:

"Find Deals on Facebook: Checking in on Places can get great deals nearby. Find specials wherever you see a yellow icon in the Facebook for iPhone app."

Like Starbucks and H&M, this ad is targeting consumers and aims to drive check-ins... which in turn can also be considered a promotion for the deal providers (ie Starbucks, H&M, etc). Also interesting:

1) the ad specifically targets iPhone users - I wonder if there is an Android specific campaign? 2) the ad expands into a video. Facebook has been releasing high-quality videos for each of their new products (example here)

Landing page:

Facebook Deal Redemption in the Feed: Gap & Starbucks

Last week I wrote about two updates to Facebook Places: Deals (using Starbucks as an example) and Photo attachments. Those two somewhat combine when deals are redeemed. If you haven't seen an example yet: here is the feed post after the Starbucks deal is redeemed. It is an expanded check-in on the Facebook feed... which means two primary things: 1. the post is customizable by the deal provider. Here, Starbucks has four pieces: logo, deal title, detailed description and viral call to action. In effect, this is great branding within the newsfeed ... that branding happens to be enhances by the fact that a friend is advocating it.

2. All the viral components associated with the feed: comments, shares, likes, etc. This is important because it is a core / necessary element to the deal platform - in a way that isn't entirely integrated on other popular sites which require post-transaction publishing.

And here is Gap's promotion:

Starbucks Already Advertises Against Facebook Places Offers

Today Facebook shook up the local deals space with their Facebook Places announcement: the local deal platform which now competes directly with Foursquare, Yelp, Groupon, etc. Facebook launched with twenty premier partners who represented different industries (Gap :: retail; Palms :: hotel; Starbucks : food; Golden State Warriors :: sports; etc). The platform will quickly expand to 20,000 local businesses and then a self-serve platform. Considering Facebook's size, mobile usage and collection of brands / business owners - this is a big deal.

... And Starbucks seems to recognize that. Immediately after the Facebook announcement, they began advertising with premium Facebook ads - specifically promoting their places offer: "Starbucks will donate $1 per Facebook Places check-in up to $75,000 to Conservation Intl. Help us protect 5,000 acres of forest land."

Starbucks: Share on Facebook, Receive a Via Coupon

A few days ago, I highlighted the latest Carl's Jr. Facebook campaign and noted the impressive mix of product, virality, advertising and consumer benefit (aka coupons and rewards).

Below is a similar effort from Starbucks - who, at 7.5m fans, is one of the most prominent and innovative brands on Facebook. Users create custom mugs of coffee using Starbucks new Via product. Once the mug is created and customized, users are asked to share on Facebook - and are rewarded with Via coupons (which can also be shared). Also like Carl's Jr. - the coupon is only available for users who share their creation. In effect, it becomes an incentivized referral program.

The difference between the two campaigns is that Carl's Jr. occurs entirely on Facebook and Starbucks lives on their own website. My guess is that virality is greater for Carl's Jr. - who can advertise more effectively on Facebook and not suffer drop off between domains.

Once you have create your custom Starbucks Via mug, you can share your creation on Facebook.

The mug can include photos from your Facebook feed or your friends' feeds.

Your reward for creating and sharing is a coupon for Starbucks Via.