August 20, 2013



A #Starbucks search on Instagram yields 4,391,166 results compared to a #Costa search of 501,823 and #Caffe Nero of 8,995. I'm just going to come right out and say it: Starbucks is shit. And before you close the browser and cast Mirror Me into the abyss of blogs you used to read, hear me out.

As much as I don't like Starbucks- not their coffee, not their tea, not their hot chocolate and certainly not their stale croissants, I still went into Starbucks last month for a meeting with my website designer. I went through a period of dedication to Starbucks where my repeat order was a Hot Chocolate and Ham & Emmental Croissant. This was about two years ago and one day, I had an epiphany- I never really enjoyed my hot chocolate as it was always too chocolatey, too watery or just plain cold and the croissant was always stale. Why the freak was I still going there? So, I quit it altogether. This year my mum quit her 30+ year addiction to Starbucks latte's and mocha's for similar reasons. She now frequents Costa for her caffeine fixes. Costa's drinks and snacks are better and the same goes for Caffe Nero. But at the end of the day, Costa is no Starbucks. Caffe Nero is no Costa.

Just like 'Hoover' becoming euphemism for 'vacuum cleaner' even though Dyson is better (I'm not sure I've ever seen a Hoover in my life?), Starbucks is euphemism for Coffee. And whilst they might not be very good at coffee, Starbucks is fantastic at Marketing and Branding. A search of 'Starbucks fashion' yields some stellar images and if I was to play word association with Starbucks, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen would be in the top 5 results to pop into mind. Now, there just isn't that type of love for any other coffee shop. Starbucks utilizes social media in a great way and in the present digital world, a brands success is highly (sometimes fully) dependent on their social media. Let’s face it: if it wasn't Instagrammed, it didn't happen and if a brand is not on Instagram, does it really exist? Whilst Costa and Caffe Nero are on Instagram, their followings are no match to Starbucks 1.4 million. In fact, Caffe Nero's Instagram account is exclusive to their Turkey presence and that in itself is an epic fail.

In addition to top-notch marketing, Starbucks played on our narcissism, making each customer feel important and creating an emotional connection by personalizing their cups. Call it far-fetched but by writing our names on the cups, the customer is allowed to be whoever they want to be and who doesn’t like that? I've seen a few Beyoncé and Rihanna inscribed cups on Instagram. Luckily, impersonation in the form of Starbucks cups is not a crime.

Starbucks is a lifestyle- it's fashionable, stylish, trendy. Their cup is an accessory. I stopped eating McDonalds eight years ago when I happened upon a world of burgers a lifetime better than what they were offering. For me, Starbucks is the McDonald's equivalent of a coffee, just not cheap. The only difference is that I would never again feel the need to step into McDonald's. I'd still go into Starbucks for the wifi and comfy couch when I need to have a meeting and I might buy a bottle of water whilst I'm at it. At the end of the day, Starbucks still wins. I'm just glad that I've stopped ordering hot chocolates and chucking them away after two sips.

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This post is part of a new series of random Thought Pieces on Mirror Me. Join the conversation in the comment section and you can also send in your own article to be published ( You can write on anything- fashion, pop culture, music, brands, love, sex, hormones, babies, anger, friendship, poetry, travel, anything. If it resonates well with me, it will be published with credit given to you and/or your website. Let's talk it out, once and for all!

9 thoughts on “STARBUCKS”

  1. Ifeoma says:

    I actually thought I was the only one who hated Starbucks, my friends always push me in there telling me what to buy and how great it is but I’d rather just go into Costa because I prefer the taste of their coffee. I think Starbucks success is really down to their marketing, they’re just so damn good at it! And I ain’t even mad lol millions of people will still go in there just because it’s Starbucks


    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Exactly, they deserve all the success for their genius marketing.

  2. Dee says:

    Not a fan of coffee in general so don’t understand the fascination with coffee shops, particularly Starbucks- I know tons of people with gold cards and everything, so they sure do know how to make addicts. As far as the kettle works in my home, I’ll make tea and call it a day.

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      I don’t drink coffee either actually- only sipped my mum’s. I’m a green tea girl and it’s pretty hard to get that wrong! I’m with you on that but I am a bit fascinated with coffee shops in general.

  3. Starbucks was one of the brands I studied during my masters in marketing course. They market a lifestyle and not necessarily their products. Brands like starbucks will always reign supreme regardless of how crappy their products are due to continued stellar marketing. They are a smart brand I will give them that. I myself is not a coffee drinker but I go into starbucks for their specialty drinks because well where I live there aren’t many cafe choices.

    1. Fisayo Longe says:

      Interesting study! I’m glad that my observations are not only just baseless observations. Just out of interest, where do you live? I found some crazy stats on the number of Starbucks per area. When it comes to convenience, they also reign supreme!

      1. I live in a city 40 minutes out of Boston. We have two starbucks and a dunkin donut in pretty much every street corner and if you think starbucks is crappy you haven’t met dunkin. Its seriously a joke. There are a few mom-pop cafes scattered around the city but not easily accessible. So I always find my self in starbucks, its quick and easy.
        By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog. I have a style crush on you. 🙂

  4. Omo says:

    Costa coffee for me all day everyday and Cafe Nero for their red velvet cake which is the best red velvet I have ever had and I have had a lot of them — Starbucks totally sucks. I am from Canada and In Canada we have Second cup just like Costa Coffee, it is amazeballs, I feel Starbucks just makes a lot of noise for nothing but hey my opinion. Thanks for sharing

  5. Liz says:

    I loved this post! I decided to read this during my “morning tea break” at work! As if we have those in Lagos.
    This article gave me a few ideas for my marketing plan of our new product.
    I will always love Starbucks, I’m not a coffee fan but I LOVE great brands and to me if you can catch the heart of people then you have won them over as a customer.

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