With its latest promotional/entertainment hybrid, Starbucks is debuting a cartoon web series aimed at younger Millennials by writers whose names Generation Xers will also recognize from credits of The Simpsons.
The series, 1st & Main, is set inside a Starbucks, as reported by TechCrunch. Episodes are based around the lives of a cast of anthropomorphic animals. Characters include a “hipster barista cat,” a “beagle working on her first novel” and other struggling artist tropes. Storylines are based on observations about the coffee vibe and culture that the three series writers experienced while working in their local Starbucks location. Each episode clocks in at 90 seconds or less.
The web series marks Starbucks’ second move into original web content, according to TechCrunch. In September, a series of live-action documentary shorts called Upstanders was launched. But 1st & Main promises a different attitude from Upstanders’ social issue-centered, “feel-good” content.
The involvement of writers from The Simpsons indicates that 1st & Main is aiming for edgy wit. But how far Starbucks will allow them to go in a cartoon that has the Starbucks brand front and center remains to be seen. And viewers might be skeptical of a cartoon that is meant to double as an advertisement.
While struggling artists and other coffee shop regulars may be the Millennials that Starbucks hopes to court with 1st & Main, other recent moves by Starbucks aim at a different segment of the demographic.
Co-founder Howard Schultz, who is stepping out of his CEO role and into the executive chairman position in April, plans to oversee the launch of 1,000 Reserve brand stores, also designed to reach Millennials. The Reserve concept offers upscale items such as $10 cups of coffee and exotic packaged blends that run $50 for an eight-ounce bag. In a Reuters article, Ric Rhinehart, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, notes that Starbucks is “acutely aware” of its reputation as “the Millennials’ parents’ coffee house.”
Fuente: Retail Wire
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