I opened up my email today to find this note from Starbucks:


Okay so it's an offer for a new Starbucks card. It happens to be made out of metal. Granted, a brushed steel card sounds more fun than plastic.

Stop and think about this for a second

If you can't read the fine print on this email, it is asking for $450 to buy a Starbucks card. $450. Granted, it's giving you $400 worth of coffee (that I would venture to guess wouldn't go unwasted by any stretch of the imagination for some). BUT - if you do the math, they are asking consumers to spend $50 to have an "exclusive" card.

They are suggesting that I spend $50 on something that only allows them to spend even more money...with them.

Sure, it's not something I'm personally into. The thing is, it's going to work. It's going to sell. Out of the millions of Starbucks customers out there, selling the limited 5,000 of these won't be too hard for them. They have built up a brand that people are so passionate about that this isn't that far-fetched of an offer.

This teaches us two things:

  • Status works in marketing. Make something exclusive or VIP-ish, people will feel more attracted to it (provided that's an angle that works for your brand).
  • Want to make more money? Make spending money fun. I imagine whipping out a brushed steel card to buy a mocha would be more fun than my normal plastic card.

For me, scanning the mobile app from time to time is fun enough. When that runs out (common stocking stuffer), I'll stick with my local shops like Octane and Dancing Goats.

Could your brand pull this off? What other ones could?