When Starbucks Fail, They Actually Win

Although it was only released yesterday, YouTube comedian Paul Gale has racked up over 1.5M views on his video titled “Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong”. Gale’s hilarious yet charming insight into the lives of your favorite baristas shows that Starbucks employees aren’t dumb, they’re just “fucking with you”. If you haven’t seen it by now, check it out:


Sure, the video is a right ol’ humdinger, and I think that anyone who has ordered their ‘coffee’ at Starbucks can relate to it. It does, however, touch on a very interesting branding concept.

Gale states that he misspells names in order to “play with your emotions in a shrewd and calculating way”. And it works. If, after receiving your chai mocha latte with two pumps of caramel, you find your name spelt in an atrociously incorrect manner, you’re most likely going to tell someone about it. You could tell them over the phone, via social media, even through a text or an email. You will laugh and rejoice together wondering what qualifications it takes to become a barista, but one thing that is consistently seen and heard by everyone you tell is the word “Starbucks” (and maybe even the logo).

Companies pay millions and millions of dollars to get their brand name anywhere they can so people talk about them. Managers from multi-national corporations pay thousands of dollars on expensive flights to meet up just so they can talk about how they’re going to spend these millions and millions of dollars. All Starbucks has to do is change a vowel on every tenth coffee to see the same increase in brand awareness. Some may argue that these faults are detrimental to the brand image and reputation, but are you really going to skip your favorite coffee purely because “Alix” was spelt with an i instead of an e?

So if Starbucks is actually using this as a marketing tactic, I feel like a standing ovation is in order. That type of creativity in this field isn’t something you stumble across every day. But more to the point, is it plausible for all businesses to make small harmless ‘mistakes’ every now and again to increase their brand awareness? I’d like to see who else catches on to this idea. What I know for certain is that every time I receive a cup labeled “Stoo”, off to Snapchat I will go.

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