Technology & Data
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
How to Get Your Sales and Marketing Teams to Work in HarmonyContent Marketing for Midsized Companies: Whom to Target, What to CreateAtri Chatterjee of Act-On Software on the New Generation of MarketersMarketing Automation: What It Is and Why You Need to Know
- Social Tools
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Social Metrics from the Starbucks "F" Word Crisis
Posted on February 26th 2014
Before the age of social media democratized communication tools, companies didn’t have to worry so much about back-channel communications going public, but these days all it takes to make a big corporation look silly is a lack of foresight.
Intellectual property and copyright law is something that Lathrop & Gage Partners David Barnard and David Waters know a lot about, so when we heard they were presenting a talk about the Top 10 Legal Pitfalls for Content Generators, we wanted to do a little research of our own to help support them.
To find some online trends and determine some social media context around an IP letter gone wrong, we monitored the terms surrounding the now-infamous Starbucks vs. Exit 6 ’F” word dust-up that happened right before the new year. Here’s a summary of the incident from abovethelaw.com:
"Jeff Britton, the owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Cotteville, Missouri, received a cease and desist letter from none other than Starbucks, specifically from Anessa Owen Kramer of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, over a beer named “Frappicino.” As the world knows, the lords of coffee sell a frozen drink (a coffee Slurpee?) by the name of “Frappuccino.” Yes, the names are similar, but to be confused enough to think you could order the nectar of mall-hopping teenage girls at a bar, you’d have to be pretty drunk.
Rather than cower in fear over the legal consequences threatened by America’s coffee monarch, Britton decided it would be in his best interests to write a response on his own, without the assistance of legal counsel, because he didn’t need no stinkin’ lawyer."
Using the Spiral16 advanced online monitoring platform, here’s what we found:
- 98% of all sentiment generated was negative against Starbucks.
- 67% of all related talk about the case was on Twitter, 14% on other social sites, 11% on news sites, 6% blogs, and 3% video sites.
- This was trending for approximately 2 weeks.
- “Exit 6” was the 8th-most used word in the study, meaning Britton got A LOT of traction for his bar from this. (Exit 6 now has over 13,800 Facebook likes.)
- Other popular terms from the study: hilarious, trademark, attention, small (as in the way people described Exit 6 as a small business – the David to Starbucks’ Goliath)
- There were also (mis)spellings of ‘frappicino’ found in the study, meaning that this misspelling of their term is very common anyway, and pointing out what a dumb idea it was to send this letter in the first place!
- Most common response: “hilarious,” found in 16% of all posts.
- People boycotting Starbucks
- People saying they won’t be going back to Starbucks often.
- People saying they usually love Starbucks, but in this case, they have gone too far.
- People calling Starbucks out for legal bullying, legal extortion.
- This it what happens when common sense is checked at the law firm door.
- Themes developed about small business owners needing to stick together.
Not surprisingly, by the time Starbucks got around to defending the letter four days later, it was too late. The David and Goliath image had been set in stone, and of course, their response (“We appreciate that Exit 6 Pub and Brewery respected our request.”) wasn’t shared nearly as many times as Britton’s.
It also wasn’t very funny.