The Iced Starbucks Coupon
re: the Starbucks Iced Coffee coupon … if needed, read the background story here, here, and here …
As someone who helped shape Starbucks field marketing and corporate marketing programs back in the day, I find it incredulous the company would even greenlight this particular Internet coupon. They've seen fake web coupons distributed far and wide on the web before and thus, should have been able to anticipate this mess. While I cannot recall the specific incidents, in the go-go dotcom days, Starbucks used email coupons and learned to expect abuse from customers.
According to reports, the coupon offer was a regional marketing activity initiated in the Southeast region. It was sent to select Starbucks employees who were to pass-it-along to a few of their friends and family. The offer was for a free iced-coffee drink from noon to 9 pm any day between August 23 and September 30.
The problem wasn’t with the email coupon nor the abuse by customers. The problem was with the month-plus long expiry date.
Had Starbucks kept the expiry date short, as in available only on Aug 23 or just Wednesdays during September, the abuse would have been minimized greatly.
I’m at a total loss to think Starbucks marketers couldn’t have anticipated this mess before greenlighting the coupon. The lesson learned here is to keep expiration dates short and contained for Internet coupons.