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“It’s not that people here have anything against Starbucks. Most of them have tried a latte or Frappuccino. Many of them even enjoyed it.
But the 2,400 residents of this historic town on Lake Minnetonka are trying to battle what Mayor Lynn Johnson calls “corporate sameness.” They don’t want the big chain stores that have cropped up across America, such as Starbucks, Home Depot and Wal-Mart.
“We are not big-box. We are small town all the way,” Johnson says.
To make that point, the town hired a Minneapolis advertising agency to craft a campaign for Excelsior’s image. At his previous firm, Redlbl’s Marketing director developed advertisements in the form of cheeky letters to Starbucks, Home Depot and the Hard Rock Cafe. The letters bluntly say no thanks to corporate franchises.
The tag line in the ads: “Secede from Starbucks Nation.”
Three of the ads ran in June, July and August in a free alternative newspaper in Minneapolis. A Starbucks regional manager, based in Denver, met with civic and business leaders to emphasize the importance of good corporate citizenship and respect for community values by the coffee company, which has 7,000 stores worldwide.
Hard Rock Cafe officials were unavailable for comment, and officials at Home Depot did not return phone messages.
Starbucks remains a bit perplexed by the ads.”