Starbucks recruits Twitter followers for new campaign

LONDON - Starbucks is hoping to harness the power of social media with a new ad campaign aimed at creating an online conversation between younger coffee drinkers.

Rolling out in newspapers, magazines and billboards in the US this week, the BBDO North America led campaign is understood to be Starbucks largest to date.

Outdoor activity encourages Starbucks' Twitter followers and Facebook fans to take pictures of the company's new billboards and be first to post them online. However, it was not revealed whether a reward would be offered.

Starbucks said the idea builds on an established tradition of its most fervent fans, who hold online competitions to post the first picture when their local Starbucks decorates its store red for the Christmas holidays.

Social media activity will be supported by a related YouTube channel, where Starbucks coffee experts talk up the importance of quality in its drinks.

Print ads will be text-heavy, giving an in depth look at Starbucks coffee bean roasting and selection process, promoting quality rather than cheap alternatives, like its US competitors McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts.

McDonald's is presently in the middle of its largest advertising to date, promoting its own coffee range, McCafe.

The company reportedly spent $100m on television, print, radio, billboard and web ads for McCafe, its biggest ad blitz since it introduced breakfast in the 1970s.

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