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If You Had $100 Million?
By: Jeff Louis
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This is an excerpt of an early 2009 interview with a McDonald's Coffee-Banger Street Lieutentant who asked to be kept off the record. I asked him what he would do with $100 Million...

"A hundred million? We'd use it to knock Starbucks the *&^% out! Yeah! We're tired of that punk chain hanging around. Don't they know who we are? We are Mac-Don-Olds! MacD. Or Big Mac, to our friends. And that Starbucks been runnin things for too long. I thougAwright man, so here's the story. Starbucks been cornerin the coffee business for a while now, you know? And for us, that was too long. They lost their focus. Got sloppy. Opened too many stores. Charged too much. People got tired of goin there, ya know? So, other shops started hanging out on their turf, right? Dunkin' Donuts. 7-11. Caribou. They all make a pretty mean brew. And, you know what? A dude don't have to wait in line for no 20 minutes at those other places, or use fancy terms that don't make no sense! A grande means small! What? All them other places produce quality product...and it's all about gettin' caffeine into the blood, right? Mmm. I can feel it now.ht we had 'em a couple months back, but they hung on like a booger. But we got the credibility, ya know?

We were just watchin, you know, playin' it safe for a while, but then we got tired of those little coffee-bangers running around...this is our turf. They was ruining da whole coffee business! We are Mac-Don-Olds. King of all these streets! Why not let the real King take over? We brought in all the heads, the bosses, and met out at Hamburger U. It was decided to sock it to 'em! Free Coffee Mondays. Everywhere. Give it away, earn their trust, then sell it, sell it, sell it! All the way to the bank.

(KFC tried to do it with chicken... Chicken? Who wants to walk around with a chicken breast in their hand!? Man, give 'em a Coke! But not a hunk of chicken!)

Anyway, Starbucks started runnin' around, not sure which way they was goin'…sending out crazy messages that they weren't "special," just a regular cup of Joe. What regular coffee costs $4? Well, they cut their own brand apart, right out from underneath their own-selves. Punks! But, they still here. So, now we gonna finish it, And, after we’re done with Starbucks, we goin' after that creepy-King-looking %*&!)$&@#+)$ that plays with sponges..."

And there you have it...McDonalds once again to make the streets a virtual coffee war zone. AdAge printed a story this morning, speaking with Neil Golden:

"I assure you that we're going to be surrounding the consumer with very relevant messaging," said Neil Golden, chief marketing officer, McDonald's USA. He said the initial ads "will pulse on and off very strongly through the summer, with sustained weight well into 2010."

The fast-food chain won't state how much they're going to spend overall, but the goal is to add $100 billion to the bottom line in 2009. With McDonalds on the prowl again, the other competitors are circling the wagons for the upcoming battle.

Starbucks, after directionless floundering a month ago, finally responded by running full-page newspaper ads designed to tell their story and to warn consumers not to "trade down." This marks the first branding campaign of any weight in years, and comes six months after Wieden & Kennedy quit the account, citing that Starbucks did not seem receptive to driving the brand forward.

One has to wonder at the recent choices made by Starbucks, and their new agency, BBDO. They've closed 600 stores, cut 1000 jobs, and sent out conflicting messages that stated "we are like everyone else" but "we are still the premium choice." To top it off, they choose newspaper, a medium that is failing in its own right, to deliver their messaging?

Time will tell if Starbucks is able to survive in the long-term, but one thing is certain: McDonalds is coming. Again.


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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