Is That 'Dumb Starbucks' Just A Marketing Ploy?
Last Friday in LA's Los Feliz neighborhood, a coffee shop named Dumb Starbucks Coffee opened. Over thew weekend, the store has become a sensation with long lines. On the menu are items like Dumb Vanilla Blond Roast, Dumb Caramel Machiatto and Dumb Chai Tea Latte. The store even has its own line of music with titles such as Dumb Norah Jones Duets and Dumb Taste of Cuba.
A Starbucks spokesman told the Wall Street Journal the store is unaffiliated with the brand.
But is it? It's quite clear that some brand with deep pockets is behind this stunt. Over the weekend, everything in the store was free. How long can some random coffee shop survive like that?
A detailed FAQ, available in the store, explains Dumb Starbucks Coffee is a real business and has categorized itself as a work of parody rather than a coffee shop so as to avoid legal issues. Whether or not that distinction can withstand legal scrutiny is a question for the lawyers.
But it's clear, at least in out mind, this is a marketing stunt with some money behind it.