Who's Winning The 2008 Election? Starbucks (SBUX)

Marketers, we hope you’ve memorized this formula by now: Free stuff plus limited time offer equals Internet mania.

Consider the craze behind Starbucks’ (SBUX) promise to hand out a free cup of coffee to anyone who shows up today — in theory, after they’ve voted. People on Twitter are microblogging “go to Starbucks” (or something similar), by our count, about every eight seconds. That makes “Starbucks” the third-most tweeted word of the day, behind only #votereport and “Election Day.”

On Google Trends, 10 of Google’s top 100 hot search terms are looking for free election swag. Who’s getting all that traffic?

  • “Starbucks free coffee” is the 23rd fastest-rising search term of the day and “starbucks election” is 79.
  • “Chick Fil A” is number 6 and “chickfila” is number 58 (they’re giving away free chicken sandwiches)
  • “Ben and Jerrys” is number 16 (free ice cream)
  • “Krispy Kreme locations” is number 25 (free doughnuts)
  • “Shanes Rib Shack” is number 29 (free meal, but only to first 300 customers at “participating stores”)
  • And generally, “free stuff for voting” is 17, “free stuff on election day” is 51, and “freebies for voting” is 66

Of course, future marketing campaigns should vet the legality of their plans in advance. Starbucks’ promotion was challenged, since it’s illegal to offer “rewards for voting.” So now the coffee chain (and everyone else) is offering freebies to everyone. All the more buzz.

See Also:
Facebook Running Out Of Cash? Good!

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