We Spell You Wrong on Purpose

Starbucks interesting marketing tactics may help you out with your takeaway business.

We Spell You Wrong on Purpose

In 2014, Starbucks was at the centre of a hilarious video explaining why its baristas have made an art form of spelling people’s names wrong on their cups.

Video comedian Paul Gale explains that taking the most banal of names like Paul, Bob and Sarah written 500 times a day takes its toll and creative misspelling like ‘Pawl’, ‘Bawbuh’, ‘Saruh’ is the only way to alleviate baristas’ boredom.

Then something interesting happens… The perplexed customer takes a picture of their cup and posts it to Instagram, Twitter and Vine. And we all know any attention is better than none.

Then, Gale explains, one day you walk into Starbucks and they spell your name right, and you will be filled with delight and excitement that today, just today, your name was spelled right – offering a glorious customer experience.

Boredom bashing

Perhaps, the reason for Starbucks extending its White Cup Contest to employees is to help alleviate some of their name spelling misbehaviour and channel it into something constructive.

The White Cup Contest for customers sees them expressing their creativity through their own design contest. In 2014, the competition saw almost 4 000 entries of hand-drawn art photographed and uploaded to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in just three weeks.

This year, the competition is being extended to Starbucks employees too. “Three cup designs will be selected and printed on reusable tumblers available for purchase later this year,” says a Starbucks spokesman.

Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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