Starbucks in early phase of Keurig partnership promo

SEATTLE: Starbucks is in the early phases of its promotional campaign surrounding the new single-serve partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR).

SEATTLE: Starbucks is in the early phases of its promotional campaign surrounding the new single-serve partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR). It's a move that could increase Starbucks' market share in the single-serve category, as well as its grocery portfolio and instant Via platform.

In a press release, and in partnership with GMCR, the company announced the relationship for the manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and sale of Starbucks and Tazo tea branded K-Cup portion packs for use in GMCR's Keurig Single-Cup brewing system, slated for grocery shelves in the fall.

“One of the key messages was that this was a very big part of our overall single-serve strategy going forward,” said Alan Hilowitz, director of corporate communications at Starbucks.

He added that it's a strategy that started with Via, and it's also apparent in a recent partnership with Courtesy Products to provide single-serve Starbucks in 500,000 luxury hotels. 

While it's too early to discuss marketing efforts, he said that the company is in the early planning stages and will build its campaign around the entrance into traditional grocery outlets, and specialty retailers like Macy's and Bed Bath & Beyond, in the fall. In early 2012, the company is slated to carry Keurig machines at retail.        

The announcement trails speculation about the relationship between Starbucks and GMCR, especially following initial reports that GMCR's similar partnership with Dunkin Donuts could tarnish the then pending relationship with Starbucks.

It also follows a recent Keurig PR agency review. In January, the company told PRWeek it was looking at eight agencies, including incumbent MSLGroup which it hired in February 2010 as its first AOR. Keurig had expected to select an agency early this month.

Chris Stevens, VP of corporate relations at Keurig, did not return a call for comment on any relation between the Starbucks partnership and Keurig's recent review.

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