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Howard Schultz Looking For His Next Act:Maybe He's Found It At The Movies.

Posted by: David Kiley on May 1, 2006


Starbucks chief Howard Schultz clearly wants to be about more than the coffee.
Back in the Fall of 2004, Schultz came to our offices to talk to BW about everything from coffee to healthcare, the music business and politics. It was my first time interviewing Schultz, but what was clear to me was that his aspirations far transcended the coffee business.

As he talked about his desire to convene a summit for CEOs to jawbone possible public policy shifts they could recommend to government about healthcare reform ( a summit that unfortunately has yet to materialize) it was plain that Schultz doesn’t want his epitaph to read: “He gave the world Iced Caramel Macchiato.”

He also waxed on about Starbucks’ music ambitions. It’s true that the chain has become a significant distributor of music. And besides deals such as marketing and distributing Ray Charles’s last CD and then Antigone Rising, Starbucks has also been a very good aggregator of music ( I like the Sam Cooke collection it has lately been selling). But, as we reported last year, the chain’s attempts at expanding its music bars where patrons could download music and burn CDs, hasn’t gone very far.

So, Starbucks recently co-produced a well-received movie, “Akeelah and the Bee,” and Schultz sees more deals like that in his future. Starbucks is seeking more movies and books to promote in the hope of duplicating the success it has had with music. It’s signing with the William Morris Agency to find more movie and book projects to market. The goal is to have one book in Starbucks stores this year, and at least two or three movies to promote and sell on DVD next year, with more projects to come.

As good as the potential is for movies, though, I think Schultz still wants to make an impact on social policy and not just pop culture.

Perhaps “Healthcare Reform: The Musical”?

Reader Comments

Once a fan

July 12, 2006 9:19 PM

Starbucks should stop trying to act small. If they are truly as sincere as they say they are, they should act big by communicating with the strength they have, and do so with some fun. After all, it's coffee. They used to be inviting, but now they are stale and predictable. The Holiday and Green Frappucino things are the only things that felt like they were human about how big they are. They try to act small, but it's transparent, and that only makes them seem dishonest. I know other one time fans agree.


March 15, 2007 2:33 PM

I think evryone should jst shut up!!! why don't you get a life instead or critisizing someone who's already got it made.


November 9, 2007 1:20 PM

deer i not spek english
i want live in amerca(usa)
thank you

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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