Starbucks reviews PR to build ethical image

Starbucks – the pariah of the ‘No Logo’ movement – has put its UK comms account up for review as it strives to be seen as a more responsible company.

The brief, which includes crisis communications, consumer, trade and corporate PR, is believed to be worth in the region of £200,000.

Starbucks was labelled ‘arrogant, intrusive and self-centred’ in an international survey of 8,000 consumers by research firm Global Marketing Insite last month.

Starbucks head of CSR and comms Scott Keiller said he wanted the successful agency to boost awareness of the company’s fair-trade measures and its work with farmers to help improve coffee co-operatives. ‘We also want to highlight the great deal of local community work we do in our stores,’ he added.

Cohn & Wolfe, Fishburn Hedges, Jackie Cooper PR and Porter Novelli will battle it out for the account.

Five-year incumbent agency Ketchum has declined to repitch.

‘Starbucks told us that we had drifted apart and wanted an agency that represented where it is now, strategically and culturally,’ said Ketchum London CEO David Gallagher.

Despite massive expansion plans – Starbucks outlined proposals last year to open 30,000 outlets globally – Keiller stressed customers built ‘personal connections with Starbucks employees’, and dubbed stores ‘community hubs’.

Ketchum’s account for EMEA PR is unaffected by the review.

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