12 Most Forgotten Fails in Starbucks History

12 Most Forgotten Fails in Starbucks History

The Starbucks Corporation has enjoyed a long and profitable history, but certainly not without its share of ups and downs. As with most growing businesses, it has had to experiment with various — and sometimes radical — marketing tactics, product configurations and service offerings in order to achieve its success. In the case of Starbucks, given how successful many of their marketing campaigns have been, I was surprised to discover how many colossal failures they’ve had.

They must have hired a stellar Public Relations team to keep these failures under the radar for so long. Thanks to smart phone cameras and social media however, many of those short-lived failed experiments live on.

Below are the 12 Most Forgotten Fails in Starbucks History in case you missed them.

1. Starbucks reduces power consumption in cost-cutting initiative

2. Starbucks attempts Feng Shui design in bathrooms

3. Starbucks removes donuts from their menu

4. Starbucks adds fiber to their coffee

5. Starbucks launches in-store instant-messaging service

6. Starbucks experiments with new containers

7. Starbucks launches dating service

8. Starbucks invents anti-sleeping pills

9. First Starbucks human child born in captivity

10. Starbucks attacks McDonald’s new McCafe offering

11. Starbucks sponsors the Occupy Wall Street movement

12. Starbucks attempts to certify itself as an organized religion

Some of these products are amazingly innovative so I’m not quite sure why these campaigns failed:

• A penis boost through caffeinated condoms seems more practical than taking Viagra, no?
• An IV drip, while impractical on my morning commute would certainly be welcomed!
• Wouldn’t added fiber in my morning coffee save me having to eating cardboard-flavored fiber cereal for breakfast?

These seem like winners to me; however, I do see the irony in a business that charges $37.50 for a “grande-fabuloso” coffee sponsoring the Occupy Wall Street movement.

What do you think? Why didn’t these innovative ideas work? Should they have?

Featured image licensed via Stock.Xchng.

Sam Fiorella


Sam Fiorella is a globetrotting interactive marketing strategist who has earned his stripes over the past 20 years in senior management roles with corporate sales &marketing teams as well as consulting for more than 30 marketing agencies. Sam’s experience with over 1600 Interactive projects during the past 15 years spans the government, finance & insurance, manufacturing, national retail and travel/tourism sectors. Currently, Sam is the Chief Strategy Sensei at Sensei Marketing, where he is charged with strategic campaign guidance and marketing technology development that power the Sensei Customer Lifecycle Methodology. Sam is a respected blogger and popular keynote speaker on marketing, branding and social media communications having presented at more than 200 conferences in the past 2 years. Follow Sam on Twitter or Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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You always crack me up. I went to Seattle with some friends, the highlight of our journey, their #1 must do: first Starbucks.


I'm shocked that Chantico wasn't on this list. I loved the Chantico "drinkable chocolate" but it's often listed as a major fail for Sbux.


And while caffeine might be a nice boost for one's johnson, I wouldn't want to feel the burn internally.


@matthewliberty - I'm with you... @samfiorella always puts my computer screen in jeopardy of getting spewed ;)


I'm cryin' here (with laughter)...that is all.


You always crack me up. I went to Seattle with some friends, the highlight of our journey, their #1 must do: first Starbucks. Coffee culture is a very big deal. 


Where did you find these images?