The View From Here – Starbucks customers receive the ultimate wakeup call

Tom Henihan

Starbucks, that enclave of the suave and discerning, the coffee shop that defines you, has now presumed its way into the bedrooms of the nation.

Starbucks, apparently, has gone to great lengths to create a wake up alarm for its customers.

The company has recruited neuroscientists, musicians and producers, to study certain algorithms and our sensitivity to sound and music.

The alarm or tune is the outcome of serious research with a very deliberate effort going into creating the perfect alarm that wakes people gently.

Starbucks opus begins with a gentle, temperate introduction that gradually gains momentum to offering the sleeping Starbucks customer a smooth transition from an unconscious state to a state of awareness.

The idea is that Starbucks “Morning Yes” alarm campaign will offer their customers a means of waking up in an affirmative frame of mind before sauntering on down to the nearest Starbucks for a Caramel Cloud Macchiato.

On its website, the company lauds its own creation under the banner “Make Your MorningYes.”

“You don’t have to be a morning person to love mornings. We worked with neuroscientists to create an alarm to inspire you to wake up feeling amazing. Simply set MorningYes as your alarm for a better, more energized morning.”

Starbucks’ commitment to ensuring that its customers wake up in a positive frame of mind seems dubious.

Why is Starbucks obsessing about its customers first waking moments and that its customers feel ebulliently happy every morning.

That seems to be taking customer service to a menacing degree.

What is also curious is that the Starbucks’ “Morning Yes” campaign is a Canadian initiative created here and aimed specifically at its Canadian clientele.

It would be interesting to know why Starbucks’ research and ingenuity came to the conclusion that Canadians desperately needed to wake up gently and in a positive frame of mind.

Another troubling aspect of this kind of promotion is that people willing sign up and download the app without any thought that they might be trading some of their autonomy for membership in the Starbucks fraternity.

Who wants to wake up every morning to the Starbucks’ sound track that ensures Starbucks is never far from your mind?

However, I am sure the alarm will arouse a lot of curiosity and it will be interesting to learn if the alarm delivers the sublime waking experience that Starbucks claims it does.

And even if the promotion is completely benign the Morning Yes alarm is about as necessary as new flavor of chewing gum.

It is unsettling to see a corporation prompting people subliminally to buy its coffee and patronize its stores.

If Starbucks wants Canadians to wake up saying yes it did not qualify what it wants people to say yes too.

It is unlikely that any corporation would invest time and resources to pursue this line of enquiry unless it is beneficial to the bottom line.

In the corporate world, interest in your customers is self-interest, so it is safe to assume Starbucks want Canadians to say yes to Starbucks.


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