During general Sunday morning activity, I noticed what looked like a paid product placement on NBC's Today Show.
Lester Holt sat across from a man in the studio and between them was a TV screen "filled to the brim" with a Starbucks logo.
That man was comedian Mark Malkoff who recently learned there are 171 Starbucks in Manhattan. He then proceeded to visit these 171 Starbucks -- in one day.
It took Malkoff a bicycle and $369.14 ($80 of which was spent on bribing a barista for one piece of pound cake at the 171st location that closed minutes before Malkoff arrived).
Is this positive PR for Starbucks? One could argue he's making light of their Manhattan ubiquity.
I'll argue that, while Malkoff's stunt is creative, he's doing little more than hitching his wagon to Starbuck's brand. But the end result is priceless -- some serious air time on a national network (during a slow news day). It's one more example of the power of a passionate customer and a brand with some serious gravitas.
You can’t buy that kind of buzz.