Starbucks (SBUX) Marketing Caffeine to Kids -- Like MO Selling Death Abroad

Starbucks has had a long tradition (and a formal policy) not to market to children. But, it is now reversing this decision, driven by bottom-line interests rather than by good business practice. In many ways, SBUX’s plan is much like a recent decision by Altria (MO) to assign priority emphasis to increasing sales abroad – and, thus, to increasing the incidence of lung cancer world wide. It is sad to see two major American corporations build out their business at the expense of the welfare of vulnerable children and adults. Investors are not likely to worry too much about the sale of cigarettes in other countries (actually many are likely to applaud MO’s decision), but they should be concerned about Starbuck’s plan to sell caffeine to kids.

Starbucks has had a long tradition (and a formal policy) not to market to children.  But, it is now reversing this decision, driven by bottom-line interests rather than by good business practice.  In many ways, SBUX’s plan is much like a recent decision by Altria (MO) to assign priority emphasis to increasing sales abroad – and, thus, to increasing the incidence of lung cancer world wide.  It is sad to see two major American corporations build out their business at the expense of the welfare of vulnerable children and adults.   Investors are not likely to worry too much about the sale of cigarettes in other countries (actually many are likely to applaud MO’s decision), but they should be concerned about Starbuck’s plan to sell caffeine to kids.

 

They are simply getting greedy.  Their stock has traded in a narrow range during much of the last weeks and their earnings have risen 9%.  They know, however, that there is money to be made from teenagers and younger children who already have shown interest in their products and creamy drinks.  They are talking about adding new drinks and selling smaller drink sizes to respond to the kid market.  What they are really talking about is hooking kids early on caffeine.  And, isn’t that nice!

 

It is likely (at least I hope it is) that this plan will backfire on Starbucks.  First, adults are not going to be very happy when kids start invading their space in bigger numbers.  Second, if they follow through, as I expect they will, they will quickly pick up bad press on loading up kids on caffeine.  This is a stock to sell at this time.

Your code to embed this article on your website* :

*You are allowed to change only styles on the code of this iframe.

Comments

Add your Comment