Friday, January 04, 2013

Osmotic Marketing for Good

There is a fantastic story at Marketwatch which explores Starbucks efforts to encourage people to use reusable cups and I applaud this. While Starbucks is really savvy in using their own brand of re-usable mugs to spread their messages, it would be great if they do more to encourage people to bring existing reusable cups. The number of cups I get from marketing efforts is unbelievable. I currently use a 17 year old mug (I kid you now) from a Microsoft Training Class, it is so old that some of the products listed on the tumbler aren't even sold anymore.

A side note that gives this post some context is that the Consumer Electronics Show starts next week, and I am not sure many of the products that will be announced next week will have the functional longevity of my promotional mug from so long ago.

Today's technology has an explicit end of life, you can't imagine having batteries that will replace the ones inside since products are hermetically sealed. They are designed to be disposable. They are mandatorily disposable. I can still use the transistor radio of my youth (the stars and stripe AM radio that was so magical when I was young) since it has a classic 9 volt. The EU mandated that mobile phones need to be chargeable by micro USB such that Apple includes adapters in their European phone kits. Planned obsolescence may be good business, but does it make for a good world?

I have been putting mugs in my car and looking for mugs with handles to attach to my travel bag so I don't ever have to use a paper cup. Starbucks will give you a discount. I wish they would reuse the discarded gift cards and reissue them to save some landfill.


At 9:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It cracks me up and dismays me at the same time when I see regular coffee-drinkers who get their drinks in disposable paper cups. I once saw an art exhibit made of countless used paper coffee cups- it was intended to draw attention to this exact issue.

I know so many people in my office who are conscientious about recycling and filling their resusable water bottle from the tap for drinking, yet they don't bother with bringing a reusable coffee mug.

I think it's because they can't be bothered to deal with washing the coffee cup after each use. Few people drink black coffee, so any dairy product traces in the cup need to be washed out with detergent, etc, it's a hassle.


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