The recent $105 million judgment against Starbucks for sharing barista tips with shift supervisors in California has Starbucks defying court orders. This can turn into a Public Relations nightmare for the chain as it struggles to move back into the favor of its investors. The company has, over the last year, lost 50% of its valuation.

Right or wrong, Starbucks needs to re-evaluate how they communicate to the public and their stockholders before this nightmare spreads to other states (three more have filed suit since last week).

Is Starbucks coffee really worth the price? The following rant by Jackie Mason may be a bit exaggerated but rings true nonetheless. There is no “service” at Starbucks and there is certainly no “superior service” as the chain suggests. In my book, service implies table service.

You want coffee in a coffee shop, that's 60 cents. But at Starbucks,Cafe Latte: $3.50. Cafe Creamier: $4.50. Cafe Suisse: $9.50. For each French word, another four dollars.

Why does a little cream in coffee make it worth $3.50? Go into any coffee shop; they'll give you all the cream you want until you're blue in the face. Forty-million people are walking around in coffee shops with jars of cream: "Here's all the cream you want!" And it's still 60 cents. You know why? Because it's called "coffee." If it's Cafe Latte $4.50.

You want cinnamon in your coffee? Ask for cinnamon in a coffee shop; they'll give you all the cinnamon you want. Do they ask you for more money because it's cinnamon? It's the same price for cinnamon in your coffee as for coffee without cinnamon - 60 cents, that's it. But not in Starbucks. Over here, it's Cinnamonnier - $9.50.

You want a refill in a regular coffee shop, they'll give you all the refills you want until you drop dead. You can come in when you're 27 and keep drinking coffee until you're 98. And they'll start begging you: "Here, you want more coffee, you want more, you want more?" Do you know that you can't get a refill at Starbucks? A refill is a dollar fifty. Two refills, $4.50. Three refills, $19.50. So, for four cups of coffee -- $35.00. And it's burnt coffee. It's burnt coffee at Starbucks, let's be honest about it. If you get burnt coffee in a coffee shop, you call a cop. You say, "It's the bottom of the pot. I don't drink from the bottom of the pot. But when it's burnt at Starbucks, they say,"Oh, it's a blend. It's a blend." It's a special bean from Argentina....." The bean is in your head.

Do you remember what a cafeteria was? In poor neighborhoods all over this country, they went to a cafeteria because there were no waiters and no service. And so poor people could save money on a tip. Cafeterias didn't have regular tables or chairs either. They gave coffee to you in a cardboard cup. So because of that you paid less for the coffee. You got less, so you paid less. It's all the same at Starbucks - no table service, a cardboard cup for your coffee-except in Starbucks, the less you get, the more it costs. By the time they give you nothing, it's worth four times as much. Am I exaggerating?

Do you know that if you buy a bagel, you pay extra for cream cheese in Starbucks? Cream cheese, another 60 cents. A knife to put it on, 32 cents. If it reaches the bagel, 48 cents. That bagel costs you $3.12. And they don't give you the butter or the cream cheese. They don't give it to you. They tell you where it is. "Oh, you want butter? It's over there. Cream cheese? Over here. Sugar? Sugar is here." Now you become your own waiter. You walk around with a tray. "I'll take the cookie. Where's the butter? The butter's here. Where's the cream cheese? The cream cheese is there." You walked around for an hour and a half selecting items, and then the guy at the cash register has a glass in front of him that says "Tips." You're waiting on tables for an hour, and you owe him money.

Then there's a sign that says please clean it up when you're finished. They don't give you a waiter or a busboy. Now you've become the janitor. Now you have to start cleaning up the place. Old Jews are walking around cleaning up Starbucks. "Oh, he's got dirt too? Wait, I'll clean this up." They clean up the place for an hour and a half. If I said to you, "I have a great idea for a business. I'll open a whole new type of a coffee shop. Instead of 60 cents for coffee I'll charge $2.50, $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50. Not only that, I'll have no tables, no chairs, no water, no busboy, and you'll clean it up for 20 minutes after you're finished."

Would you say to me, "That's the greatest idea for a business I ever heard! We can open a chain of these all over the world!" No, you would put me right into a sanitarium. Starbucks can only get away with it because they have French titles for everything, Nazi bastard sons-of-a-bitches. And I say this with the highest respect, because I don't like to talk about people.


With the rapid advance of technology that shrinks computing power into tiny spaces the size of a pin-head, it was not surprising that the Japanese harnessed these technologies to produce what follows.

As thin as a wave of light, this technology puts the ultra thin Mac Air in the heavy-weight corner!!

Scroll down and guess what they are.


You may need a shrit pocket protector.


One of the individuals I have had a great deal of respect for as a visionary and mentor recently stepped out of the corporate race to counsel and provide guidance to companies that have reached a tipping point in their growth. These people and companies range from the giants of industry to digitally savvy technology companies and entrepreneurial ventures.

Ira Carlin is the giant that has been ahead of every new crashing media wave that has made an impression on the way we work, play and live our lives.... and he has done so with grace, charm and an exceedingly sharp wit.

Never at a loss for words or advice, his venture into THE ISOQUANTIC AGE sparked me to submit the video that follows for a glimpse of what I believe Ira is challenged to embrace.

..... A facinating, thought provoking, sometimes frightening yet exciting place.


Neuroscience is becoming a more and more important marketing tool. Major advertisers are taking advantage of the rapid growth of knowledge in this area and research agencies are making it part of their offering. One of the recent findings suggests that when communicating with men and women there are certain differences that need to be considered.

"For the first time researchers show that areas of the brain associated with language work harder in girls than in boys during language tasks, and that boys and girls rely on different parts of the brain when performing these tasks."

It appears that women like more context and abstract information than men. It could explain why women often provide more context and abstract representation than men."
This could have major implications for how advertisers approach talking to men and women: Men appreciate shorter to the point copy whilst women enjoy the additional context.

Ask a woman for directions and you may hear something like: “Turn left on Main Street, go one block past the drug store, and then turn right, where there’s a flower shop on one corner and a cafe across the street.” Is that why my GPS voice is that of a female?

Such information-laden directions may be helpful for women because all information is relevant to the abstract concept of where to turn; however, men may require only one cue and be distracted by additional information.

This theory would suggest that advertising copy aimed at males should be simple and direct, while female-oriented copy should provide more context.

Comics have often played up the differences between the male/female thought process. The following sketch may explain it better than any scientific study.

The findings for the abstract are published in “Sex Differences in Neural Processing of Language Among Children” (Neuropsychologia) authored by Burman, along with James R. Booth (Northwestern University) and Tali Bitan (University of Haifa).


Or … how arrogance in a marketplace will come back to haunt you.

The declining fortunes of WebMD have returned the stock to its IPO price of October ’05. At $23 and change, investors have waged a punishing battle that forced a retreat from a high of $60 just a few months ago. At the market’s close last week, an IPO investment of $1,000 in WebMd would be worth $1,029 today before trading commissions. Not bad for two and a half years!!

What went wrong? Why has this major player, committed to providing the very best medical information for consumers hit the skids?


For several years, as the only major web outlet for drug companies, WebMd has been soaking its advertisers with exorbitant rates to reach the consumer and professional markets. They chose a monopolistic position they refused to alter. Pay or go away!

But monopolies eventually tumble, replaced by entrepreneurial newcomers in the form of Health Central Network, Everyday Health, Revolution Health, etc. …. a list that has begun to challenge "Ma Bell". Agencies and their advertisers long held hostage by WebMD now have alternatives that can ease the pain of high rates and an unwillingness to come to the bargaining table.

Where will WebMD wind up? If this commercial (spoof?) rings true, they are spiraling towards their own fate.

Find more videos like this on AdBakery.com


Hulu (rhymes with WooHoo!) has been in development for over a year and promises to be the cutting edge web-based video on-demand service offering full length episodes of NBC and FOX programs including shows from Bravo, Fuel TV, Style, Sundance, Oxygen channels plus selected movies.

The site,
www.hulu.com, is still in private beta and is open by invitation only. The teaser on the home page is available to all. Jason Kilar, Hulu's CEO previewed Hulu at the recent IAB Digital conference in Phoenix to a sell out crowd of digerati. Performance of the site was flawless, presented in a clean, uncluttered and user friendly environment. The quality of the program delivery was outstanding.
Hulu is the future of television.

One of the newer entrants into the world of gadgets we can't live without is Chumby. The handsome device is a "widget box", serving up your favorite streaming widgets, photos or radio stations. It's an alarm clock, a calendar or anything else you might find useful to stream to your desk or bedside stand. The unit will set you back $179, but the service is free and "connects" wirelessly thru a router. Visit them at www.chumby.com.

But don't take my word for it. Wired Magazine did a good job reviewing Chumby here.