Starbucks "Cheer Chain" Coupon Revealed, Nation Mourns

Reader Hilary says, in response to our recent post about the various Starbucks “Cheer Chain” conspiracy theories:

Yes, actually it is a PR stunt. They’ve even provided coupons to kick it off. This one (scan attached) came from Esquire magazine, I believe.

Nooooooooooo, you mean they’re not even passing back a drink someone that someone actually paid for? They’re passing a BOGO coupon?

Good grief!



Edit Your Comment

  1. DrGirlfriend says:

    You know what, as far as PR stunts go this one doesn’t bother me. Yeah, it’s kinda contrived, but at least someone, somewhere, is getting something without having to pay for it.

  2. dysthymia says:

    Im sure this is not the first time a large corporation does this. Might be the first time I hear is done, but for some reason im not surprised / shocked / or care much about it. We could make a big issue of it, but it wont to start with me. Nevertheless, shame on you starbucks, shame on you.

  3. AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

    Starbucks gave out a very similar coupon the morning of Black Friday outside Macy’s in San Francisco. The one I got had a different design and didn’t require anyone to write down their name. I think the “pass the cheer” part was you get one free when you buy a coffee for your friend.

  4. marsneedsrabbits says:

    You mean total strangers aren’t treating each other to overpriced novelty coffee beverages?
    My faith in humanity is crushed.

  5. Bungus Aurelius says:

    Dunno, just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. Contrived, sure, but so what? They’re giving out buy one get one coupons and spinning it so you front your friend and take the free one yourself instead of giving the freebie to your friend (you cheap bast@rd!). No biggie.

    If you wanna bitch about them, then complain that it’s somewhat misleading to leave four lines for drink orders but bury the “limit one free per coupon” language.

  6. Blueoysterjoe says:

    Tiny words! Tiny words! Ayiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!

    (runs from Starbucks)

  7. LilKoko says:

    Looks like they’re trying to get good PR and focus group data all in one fell sip. What they may have been trying to do wasn’t so bad, but the way they did it leaves a bad aftertaste. Sneaky, sneaky Starbucks.

  8. Brie says:

    I’m with Nicomacus. This coupon was in the November edition of Lucky and I ripped it out and gave it to my friend so she and her daughter could BOGO.

    Until I read the Cheer Chain link just now I had no idea it existed. But then I don’t hang out at Starbucks and I don’t have four friends who do, so again – BOGO, yay! What’s so insidious about that?

  9. rachaeljean says:

    I agree, this doesn’t seem all that big of a deal!

    I noticed one of those very same cards in the November Lucky (the subscription came free with an Amazon order, arggh I can’t wait for it to run out!) and tore it out, figuring I’d use it some day. This was in like October because magazines come out like Christmas in September.

    Anyway, I finally went to use it about two weeks ago (I’m not a big Buck$ person anymore, thankfully). I went up to the counter and placed my order with the barista for two drinks. As she pushed her buttons on the register, I informed her that I had a BOGO coupon. She said, “Oh, great, I just need to read it” So I handed it over cheerfully.

    Upon reading, she says, “Uh… I think you have to actually WRITE your orders down, or I can’t take it.”

    They made me write it down!!!!! Of course I held up the line at the busy cafe and felt like an ass!!! It was very hard to transcribe the exact order too – sadly my husband and I aren’t “black americano” people.

    So I’m stuck scrawling “Tall non-fat sugar-free hazelnut latte and venti no-water extra-hot chai” while getting glares from my fellow patrons!!

    Pass the cheer indeed.

  10. Jackasimov says:

    I went in to Starbucks recently and was actually “treated” to my drink by the clerk for no good reason whatsoever. She then gave me a similar card to the one shown which is basically a buy one get one free coupon that just suggests you do something nice with it. A purely evil PR stunt if you ask me. When has a company ever done anything geared towards the public that wasn’t? Hell, 3/4 of the news is PR material. Don’t act so shocked.

    I really don’t get bashing on a coffee chain. I don’t see anyone slamming that corporate behemoth Dunkin’ Dunuts and they are nearly as pervasive. Oh wait, they’re geared more towards the working class and they don’t call their drinks funny names. they’re safe. Cool. (BTW, try a Dunkacino. If you can get past the humiliation of ordering one you will be hooked on the spot.

    Anyone want a free coffee at Starbucks? I’m buying. First come, first served. and you have to admit to not giving a crap one way or another about Starbucks.

    And, IMO, like their bitter-assed coffee or not at least their politics are on straight.

  11. ExtraCelestial says:

    im so confused by this coupon. why is there more than one space for drinks if its bogo? is it bogobogo? or bogogogo? if you have to write the orders down are they suggesting that you ask the person behind you for their drink order? are you just supposed to use it with your own friends and be prepared before you enter? is it really cheer passing if youre just keeping it in your circle?

  12. DrGirlfriend says:

    Why couldn’t they have passed the cheer on to me the other day, when I placed my order and immediately realized I didn’t have my wallet in my purse?

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    What? A corny contrived gimmick by a for-profit commercial company? I’m shocked.

  14. ceriphim says:

    Yeah I don’t really see how this is all that evil. A bit confusing, maybe, but BOGO has been a retail standard forever.
    Except I don’t get the point of having people write it down, are they trying to gather market demo information? That they wouldn’t normally get from their sales records, somehow?

  15. sibertater says:

    @CelesteD: So you know: It’s Bogo-A-Gogo.

    That is all.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Being a barista, I do not understand these coupons…and most of my coworkers dont either. You want that drink for free so bad its not a big deal we will give it to you. It may be a gimmick but if it is, no one told me. And thoes cheer chains…are really cool, we dont start them, cusotmers do. Its normally a drive thru thing..the person at the window will ask what the next person has..or how much…and they say….ill pay for that one too. No other customer contact, no obligation..we just think its nice, i just wish it was more than just Christmas that people do this for others.

  17. North of 49 says:

    too bad I’m allergic to that concoction.

  18. DanceWithGoats says:

    I called a friend who works for Starbucks marketing who participated in this “PR stunt.” Not sure I agree. I blogged about it here:


  19. STrRedWolf says:

    Strangely enough, mint works well with their frapachino’s. Still expensive, though.

  20. RagingBoehner says:

    @Jackasimov: Hey, we didn’t win World War II to order our coffee drinks in Italian :-)

    I have a Starbucks in the lobby of my building but being a good New England boy brew my own Dunkin’ at my desk

  21. hi says:

    So I guess your friends names and drink orders gets put in their handcrafted databases.

  22. Jackasimov says:

    @RagingBoehner: LOL. And faux-Italian at that most of the time.

    They recently (I think) opened a Lavazza in Chicago. Now that’s good coffee! And I think they actually speak and understand English there. Not bad for an Italian company.

    I like the Dunkin’, too. I prefer it to Starbucks. And there’s no cheer chains at Dunkin’. That’s what the sugar is for.

  23. rjhiggins says:

    I fail to see where a BOGO coupon to give to a friend has ANYTHING to do with the cheer chains. I don’t see anything on the coupon that says, “Use this to pay for a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha for the person behind you in the drive-through even if they ordered a drip coffee…”

    But hey, don’t let me spoil your fun, conspiracy theorists.

  24. Curse says:

    And, a cheer chain story hits the paper local to Starbuck’s HQ…

  25. DanGarion says:

    My GAWD what a terrible company. They should be shut down immediately OH NOES!

  26. ez-e says:

    The spaces provided are so you don’t forget what your friend’s favorite drinks are while you are in line! One way to hold up a line is when you have multple drinks and don’t know if “Cindy” really wants whipped cream on her damned mocha. And BTW.. You don’t NEED to write a thing down if you don’t want to – you will still recieve your bogo!

  27. paullyjunge says:

    i dont understand what is so bad about this, it’s a buy one get one. is someone upset they are getting free coffee? are you shocked that a coupon with the starbucks logo is _not_ from starbucks? did you think there was some hobo on the street printing off stacks of fake starbucks coupons, which starbucks for some reason decides to honor? i know its the holidays, but i think you are being a little too generous here…