Starbucks is placing full page ads in major newspapers trying to reclaim its legacy of setting the bar for the best-tasting coffee. Starbucks of course built their wildly successful business through 1990's - 2000's based on creating brand value around bringing great coffee to America and the world, as well as creating a hip, smart vibe in their stores.
Lately, Starbucks has been under attack on both fronts. McDonald's McCafe launched a blisteringly dead-onanti-Starbucks positioning ad that made fun of the snootiness factor. Stores such as Dunkin' Donuts launched "taste test" style ads to deconstruct the myth of Starbucks' coffee superiority (can you imagine how insulted Starbucks brass must have been..."Seriously? Dunkin' Donuts?").
In the latest Starbucks print ad that I saw this morning, they attempted to take back the great coffee position. It will be interestingto see if the marketplace buys into the pitch or if their position has been too damaged by the competition. Personally, I believe it's the combination of emotional and functional factors that Starbucks lost in the past 4-5 years that has hurt them the most. Over-expansion, sometimes into very non-Starbucky places such as interstate highway rest stops, diluted the "specialness" of visiting a Starbucks store.