Happy Hour starts at 4!
In a pilot project launching this year, coffee giant Starbucks will be serving beer and wine at select Canadian locations. The project is titled “Starbucks Evenings” and has already been introduced by the company to American coffee shops. The “Evenings” menu also offers h’orderve style pairings with your beverage such as chicken skewers and bacon-wrapped dates.
The Evenings project is a great way to boost sales during low traffic hours. Typically a location will receive 70% of it’s daily business before 2 pm. Alcohol adds to Starbucks expanding selection of products (baked goods, sandwiches, iTunes cards). The company has been working hard to position itself as more than just a morning stop for a cup of joe, and is becoming a multi-service store. In the past few years, the dominating coffee company has been battling fast food chains who are competing with their own coffees. McCafe – McDonald’s successful bean brand is sneaking in as a close second to Starbs.
The US stores providing the Evenings menu have seen substantial success and experts are not worried about failure here in Canada. But some Canadian consumers have concerns. Based on online commentaries, some people don’t feel booze melds with the Starbucks atmosphere. Won’t customers who’ve had “one too many” disrupt the cafe vibe? Or even the boozy smell could off-put those expecting the rich coffee aroma we are used to. Others fear baristas aren’t equipped to be discerning IDers, or are uncomfortable with alcohol being more readily available and “to-go”.
The locations for the pilot project will be confirmed later this month, but they will most likely be based in major city centres such as Toronto. The company alludes that the project will be popular among their main target, women, who will prefer goat cheese flatbread and a glass of wine in a cozy coffee shop over the bar.
I am trying to be unbiased, but as a twenty something who loves goat cheese and who could take or leave the bar scene, it sounds like my cup of…coffee.
I need bedsheets. And for the past week I’ve putting off making the Icelandic-expedition-like journey to my local Target store to get them. “Don’t worry, we can always buy them next week.” my boyfriend told me last evening, adding “Target will still be there on Monday.”
But as I awoke this morning, my Twitter feed was abuzz with some alarming news. In fact, Target might not be there come Monday. Target stores will be ripped out of their retail locations just as quickly as the discount department store showed up in the North, leaving 133 stores vacant. The American box store began their attempted takeover in 2013 – opening over a hundred stores all over Canada and adding 9 more the following year. The costly, “too large too quick” move left newly opened Targets disorganized and some shelves bare as the company struggled to keep up with demand. Disgruntled Canuck customers also complained that Target’s prices did not reflect the great deals of their American locations. This left them to turn back to what they knew – Wal-Mart (another American giant who has been part of the true north strong and free for 19 years now). Employees were frustrated with inventory mess ups and overstocked back rooms that made locating merchandise nearly impossible.
For those just warming up to Target after the loss of a great Canadian retailer, Zellers, this has come at quite a shock. Target will be liquidating it’s merchandise over the next few months (a great time to buy bedsheets!) and it’s locations will become hauntingly empty ruins of what once was – the faces of failure. Not to mention the closing stores are coupled with the termination of nearly 18,000 jobs.
Wal-Mart found it’s feet after a rocky few years on Canadian soil, and went on to become the nation’s biggest discount retailer. Other American companies that have had great success here include: H&M, Old Navy and Winners. So it was odd that Target execs stated the reason for closing was that they would not become profitable here until well into 2021. The retreat is a decision that is keeping Target share holders confident in the company’s new CEO’s plan to save this sinking ship. The failed expansion leaves Target in multibillion dollar debt.
Looks as though Canadians will have to put “Target” back on their list of stores to stock up at on their yearly shopping trips south of the border.
Shomi drama! Shomi romance! What ever you are Craving, chances are one of the many online streaming options will have it for you. It seems 2015 will be the year of the online streaming service with Rogers and Shaw’s Shomi.com, offering a wide range of our favourite series for $8.99 a month. Or Bell Canada’s answer to Netflix – Crave TV. For a mere $4 a month you can binge-watch classics like 90’s sitcom Seinfeld. (However, Crave TV tacks on a few extra bucks if you want movies and some select TV series). Or there’s Amazon Prime and Hulu as well. If you don’t feel like paying and you like your pirated movies with Korean subtitles, there are countless free, virus induced illegal sites who probably will want your credit card number anyways…
It’s no surprise the internet is changing the way many people view television. It’s creating a new phenomenon mentioned above known as “binge watching”. Netflix has caught on to these 10 hour TV show gluts, aware that people can plod through entire seasons on a stay-home Sunday. Earlier this year, Netflix released a complete season of their hit original program, “Orange is the New Black”, in one mass upload. It was a delight to bingers who easily consumed the prison based comedy-drama in one big feed.
The days of waiting week to week to find out what woman McDreamy was going to choose may be coming to end. (I was a shameless Grey’s Anatomy fan for many years). But for you traditionalist TV connoisseurs, we are still a ways away from this becoming the norm. Despite the uprising of online streaming services, only 10% of television viewers are using them to get their fix. A good percentage of us still watch week to week with anticipation, and maybe some of us prefer that method.
The Share a Coke campaign designed by soft drink corporation Coca Cola has spread it’s way around the world since it’s launch in Australia in 2011. The concept is simple – each Coke beverage has a unique name printed on them, leading buyers to maul through store fridges and friends’ beverage coolers to find their name. Finding your name on a Coke has shown to be an Instagram-worthy experience as I’ve noticed on my newsfeed since the Canadian campaign launch this past summer.
Now Diet Coke Israel is jumping on the bandwagon with their new campaign. Coca Cola Israel crafted the idea of manufacturing 200 million colourful, uniquely composed bottle labels ensuring no Diet Coke will be alike. The campaign is promoted by rich rainbow out-of-home ads. Diet Coke has been experiencing a slump in sales recently. Their last campaign failed to save the day, as it was criticized for being a subliminal drug reference. More on the “You’re On” campaign: (http://sellmeaboutit.com/2014/03/08/company-alludes-being-on-coke-is-cool/)
Mass-customization is popular in our society, especially among millennials who want to express their individualism but still be among the swarm who participate in corporate culture. Think of how pleased many of us are when the barista spells our names correctly on our favourite cup of Starbucks coffee, making it our own.
Jones Soda did it first. Many years ago Jones Soda manufactured their bottle labels with various cool photographs that customers could submit themselves. The soft drink company began releasing limited editions such as their Halloween pack which featured new, limited edition flavours as well as bottles. The Jones Soda website also offers customers the chance to upload a photo to be printed on specialty bottles that they can have shipped to them.
The parallel of consumer culture’s need to proudly advertise our own selfhood with our equal need to cohere to what everyone else is doing reveals how the mass customization of products really is a genius marketing tool. Coke explains in the video above that the essence of their brand is that there’s something extraordinary in every person. It’s a broad yet personal statement. It is exactly the way that mass customization is broadly personal, an ever contradictory concept that today’s consumer is wanting more and more of.