Starbucks to develop 'inexcessive' positioning for new campaign

NEW YORK - Starbucks is launching an advertising campaign in an effort to shake off its image as a purveyor of overpriced coffee.

Speaking at Starbucks annual investor meeting, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the coffee chain had become the "poster child" for excess when in fact most of its products were not as expensive as they were perceived.

Starbucks announced a new campaign to reshape its image, which will be launched online and across US television. The ads will feature the Ben E King song 'Stand by Me', which also played at the end of Shultz's presentation.

Starbucks US advertising is handled by BBDO, New York.

Starbucks has been struggling during the downturn. In January it announced plans to cut 6,700 of its 167,000 retail staff and shut 300 underperforming stores, after reporting a 69% fall in profits during the first quarter of the year.

Last month the chain announced that it was planning to offer instant or soluble coffee for less than $1. The new product, called Starbucks Via, launches in the UK on March 25.

Schultz made his way into the UK press last month when he prompted a four-letter rant from business secretary Lord Mandleson over criticisms about the state of the UK economy.

Describing the UK economy as "in a spiral" Schultz was forced to retract his words when Mandleson later replied: "Why should I have that guy running down the country? Who the fuck is he? How they hell are they [Starbucks] doing?"