The specially designed Starbucks planners in the Philippines have become an annual obsession for many Filipino millennials.
A product of genius marketing, this highly-coveted item from the popular global coffee brand first became available in 2004 as part of its annual local promotion, which began from the start of November to the first week of January.
To acquire one, a frequent Starbucks customer needs only to submit a promotional card filled with 18 stickers, which are individually given upon each purchase (nine from any handcrafted core beverage and nine from featured holiday beverages) collected from November to January of the previous year.
That means to be able to get one, a customer needs to spend around $50 on coffee drinks.
But here’s the kicker: those who don’t even drink Starbucks coffee frequently, or at all, are also in on the trend, with many willing to spend some good money on the Starbucks planner.
The craze has become so big in social media that financial experts and frugal-minded netizens would give their unsolicited advice on Facebook to be practical and spend the money on anything useful whenever promo season starts anew. Many would point out cheaper alternatives like $2 notebooks or even premium quality planners that are at least less than half the price of Starbucks planners.
We also have these almost magical things called “phone apps” now.
So why, you might ask, would people be even willing to pay even more money just to have them?
Well, there are a number of reasons, including the fact that the Starbucks fancy journal/notebook is indeed well-made and quite nice to look at. Some would profess that the product is simply beyond its class and those colorful designs are just top-notch.
Meanwhile, there are those who would go to great lengths to possess one because they are loyal to the brand and would proudly be associated with it. This is not much different for those who have a Nike sneaker collection or a Hello Kittty-themed anything obsession.
Others are actual avid collectors who may have developed a connection with that specific type of planner or made it a tradition each year to get one. These include those who are in it for the thrill of completing the sticker collection and eventually getting a “free” prize at the end of the year for it is indeed pretty cool.
It could also mean that more Filipinos have developed an organizational habit exclusively using a particular fancy notebook.
Another possibility is that some avid Starbucks planner chasers are merely bitten by effective marketing.
Unlike in the Western Starbucks outlets, Filipino consumers prefer to sit and drink their coffees, whiling away the time inside the store. This explains why local stores have larger seating areas like in other Asian countries.
Outlets are often packed with friends hanging out, colleagues conducting mini-meetings, online workers and freelancers doing their work while enjoying coffee in the comfort of a cozy environment. But since the price of a Venti Latte costs almost half the daily minimum wage in the country, Starbucks coffee is considered “overpriced” by many Filipinos.
For the socially-conscious, being able to buy Starbucks (coffee, tumblers, and planners) has become a status symbol. Starbucks has become a place where people take pictures of their drinks to post on Instagram to show off they can “afford” such relatively expensive coffee.
That is why for some, it gives them a sense of pride to complete their sticker collections and by January, Facebook is then littered with proud announcements of possessing a planner that some won’t even actually use. This is also the reason why Starbucks is successful in the Philippines. The company has so far tapped on the Filipino psychology on how to sell them coffee and expensive planners, whether they can afford them or not.
Are you a Starbucks planner lover or hoarder as well? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!