New Starbucks Ad From BBDO: A Coffee Break From Political Fighting

Now that I have seen a TV ad from Starbucks, I wonder why it took the chain so long to embrace regular TV advertising.

The coffee chain broke its first TV ad from new ad agency BBDO on Saturday Night Live last Saturday night, a much anticipated and high-rated episode because of John McCain’s appearance with Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin.

The ad, and idea, is said to be the work of BBDO chief creative officer David Lubars. The ad is all text and music, encourages everyone to vote and promises a free cup of coffee for everyone who votes. Here is the ad.

I don’t often like texty ads like this, but I think the music helps carry it off. I also like the kicker line, “It’s Bigger Than Coffee.”

Starbucks is amidst a retrenching, trying to find some mojo o put back into its store traffic and share price. According to Ad Age, citing Technomic, Starbucks would be doing well to attract 1% of the expected voter turnout, or about 1.5 million people looking for free java. Hopefully they will also buy a cookie, lemon bar or slice of coffee cake.

Most of all, hopefully they will take away more than a cuppa Joe, but a memory of sharing a historic election with Starbucks.

BBDO picked up the account shortly after Wieden & Kennedy and Starbucks parted ways. Wieden had produced some interesting animated work. But, frankly, I think the idea of associating Starbucks with causes like voting, energy efficiency and other themes that may unite citizens and coffee drinkers going forward may be the right track for the coffee chain.