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Arts and Entertainment

Spell It If You Want That Latte, Bee-otch

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If you don’t know about the upcoming Angela Bassett-Laurence Fishburne flick, Akeelah and the Bee, then you probably haven’t stepped into your local Starbucks lately. This is the first venture by Starbucks Entertainment—the purveyors of those Starbucks Hear Music CDs that you peruse while waiting in line for your caffeine fix—into the world of film marketing and distribution, with Lionsgate films.

According to a corporatepress release:

“Starbucks in-house creative team designed a multi-dimensional marketing promotion that is tastefully integrated into the classic Starbucks Experience to subtly and powerfully pique customer curiosity.”
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But this Akeelah campaign has all the subtlety of a triple espresso. While walking into a Starbucks in Valencia this past weekend, LAist immediately noticed that the store was decorated with about as much marketing junk as their Christmas campaign. (“Would you like to try our Holiday Blend?”) Except the Akeelah campaign’s dominant color is a kind of Day-Glo lime green.

No matter where we turned, we couldn’t escape references to spelling and vocabulary. It was though someone had thrown up a Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary around the store. (If you didn’t get it from the title, Akeelah and the Bee is about a little girl with a penchant for words who s-p-e-l-l-s her way into a national spelling bee spot.)

Forewarned is forearmed. So here’s what’s in store, literally, for those venturing into a Starbucks during the next few weeks:

• Spelling flashcards decorating the windows and all other visible surfaces
• More flashcards around the store placed in little game containers, so if you get really bored, you can learn how to spell words like "a-n-t-e-d-i-l-u-v-i-a-n" or "p-u-l-c-h-r-i-t-u-d-e."
Akeelah drink sleeves
• Chair back covers
• Coasters
• Magnets

And of course, since Starbucks needs new ways to make money, here's what they're going to be selling next: Travel SCRABBLE, the movie soundtrack and multimedia activities for those who buy into T-Mobile Hotspot use at the stores.

Hmm. Hmm. Makes us wish for the good old days of Starbucks' Chantico. But not.

Flickr photo from mastermag.