Chilled Coffee Gets Hot

Article excerpt

Starbucks Coffee Co. is chilling out in Washington.

The Seattle-based coffee giant's latest marketing tool has been patrolling Baltimore- and Washington-area streets handing out hundreds of sample-size Frappuccino drinks - a blend of coffee, milk and ice.

The Starbucks Chill Patrol, a 17-foot van that produces 600 2.5 ounce samples an hour, has been roaming the metro area since June 15 and will be in the market through mid-August.

During its first weekend on the streets, the Chill Patrol handed out 6,500 Coffee Frappuccino samples, along with hundreds of coupons for a free 12 ounce Frappuccino at any of its stores.

"For the first time we have the opportunity to sample Frappuccino in venues outside our store, reaching both our loyal customers and potential customers," said Shannon Jones, regional marketing manager at Starbucks.

About 20 percent of the coupons given out have been redeemed, Ms. Jones said.

The program is based on the successful run of the Chill Patrol in Toronto last summer. The van exceeded the company's expectations by giving out more than 40,000 Frappuccino samples, as well as increasing the blended beverage sales at all its stores in the Toronto market.

The company brought the Chill Patrol back to Toronto this summer and expanded the program to Washington, New York and Boston.

COMMUNICATION ALLIANCE

Strategic Communications Group in Silver Spring has teamed up with Rockville's Investor Communications Co. to offer public relations, financial analysis and investor relations counseling to high-tech clients before and after going public.

The alliance gives each company's clients a wider range of services. For example when Strategic's clients are beginning to explore the idea of an initial public offering they can now turn to resources from Investor Communications to provide investor relations services.

Strategic, founded in 1996, is a full-service advertising agency that specializes in technology companies in the Mid-Atlantic area. …