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Starbucks Invites Customers to D-I-S-C-O-V-E-R the Inspiring Film 'Akeelah and the Bee'

Starbucks Invites Customers to D-I-S-C-O-V-E-R the Inspiring Film 'Akeelah and the Bee'

Published 04-04-06

Submitted by Starbucks Corporation

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 4, 2006--

Unique, Experiential Promotion Designed to Enhance the Starbucks Experience and Broaden Film's Reach by Introducing it
to Millions More Movie-goers

Beginning today, the millions of customers at Starbucks (NASDAQ:
SBUX) nearly 8,300 locations in the U.S. and Canada will have the unique opportunity to discover Akeelah and the Bee, an inspirational new film co-presented by Lionsgate (NYSE and TSX: LGF), the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, 2929 Entertainment and Starbucks Entertainment. Through a fun, innovative and unprecedented experiential marketing campaign, Starbucks will provide customers the opportunity to interact with key aspects of the story.

In theaters beginning April 28, Akeelah and the Bee is the inspirational story of a precocious 11-year-old girl (Keke Palmer) with a gift for spelling. Despite objections from her mother (Angela Bassett), Akeelah enters various spelling contests, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne) and the proud residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah's aptitude wins her a spot in the national spelling bee, and her determination instills all those who help her with a sense of community pride as they witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing little girl.

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. Rather than featuring the standard movie poster used in more traditional promotional campaigns, the Starbucks campaign builds on the movie's theme of the power of words by leveraging unique in-store placements and techniques that have not been implemented before. Customers will be invited to step inside Akeelah's journey as part of their daily coffee routine. The campaign will drive buzz and challenge customers to expand their vocabulary and spelling prowess with difficult-to-spell and exotic words printed on a wide variety of collateral such as flash cards, magnets, in-store signage, coasters, and cup sleeves. In addition, beginning April 17, travel-sized SCRABBLE(R) will be sold in all Starbucks locations in the U.S. and Canada, further supporting the central theme of the campaign: "Changing the World One Word at a Time."

"We've experienced great success with the music we offer in our stores, and we recognized that we had an opportunity to extend the trust our customers have in the Starbucks brand to bring them other forms of entertainment," said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman. "As a result of that, we've been looking for more than a year to find a great story that would bring a sense of discovery to our customers, and when we saw Akeelah and the Bee, we immediately realized that it was the perfect choice. The film's inspirational message about a community coming together to support one of its own is emblematic of what Starbucks stands for."

"We could not have found a better partner to help bring this film to the public in such a unique and creative way," said Jon Feltheimer, chief executive officer of Lionsgate. "Starbucks brings communities together every day just as Akeelah brings her community together. With strong trust from its vast customer base and its proven track record of word-of-mouth marketing, Starbucks is in a unique position to help millions of customers learn about a new film to which they might not have otherwise been exposed."

Adding to Starbucks initial love of the film and its support for community was its strong education message and its historic support of literacy programs. Starbucks support of Akeelah and the Bee adds momentum to those efforts as viewers witness Akeelah's dedication and persistence as she powers through spelling tough words such as "pulchritude," "elucubrate," "prospicience" and "prestidigitation."

"Our goal with entertainment is always to enhance the Starbucks Experience. Partnering with an innovative company like Lionsgate to present Akeelah and the Bee enables us to do that," added Ken Lombard, president, Starbucks Entertainment. "This unique promotion introduces this uplifting film in a way no other company can. We are excited about extending our powerful marketing and distribution reach to the movie industry and feel very confident that our customers will appreciate the recommendation."

The Akeelah and the Bee soundtrack is available starting today and features The Jackson Five, The Spinners, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Al Green, The Brothers Johnson and Aretha Franklin. The first singles off the soundtrack are "Proud" from Heather Small, and Keke Palmer's debut single "All My Girlz." The album is available at Starbucks Company-operated locations in the U.S. and Canada as well as traditional music retail outlets and is the first official motion picture soundtrack that Starbucks has ever carried.

One of the most important aspects of the Starbucks Experience is the trusted relationship customers have with their baristas. Before the movie opens on April 28, Starbucks will host advance screenings for partners (employees) in select cities (40 cities total). Baristas are not scripted, and if they are asked by customers, are encouraged to share their recommendations based on their own personal experience with the film.

Additionally, Starbucks will offer customers complimentary multimedia content via the T-Mobile HotSpot network, the largest footprint of internet hotspots in the world. From the welcome page of the T-Mobile HotSpot network, customers will be able to access the movie trailer, a clip from the "I Want to Win The National Spelling Bee" scene in the film, links to the Akeelah and the Bee web page on, and links to music from the movie on the Starbucks Hear Music homepage. Starbucks will also utilize its relationship with XM Satellite Radio to offer special programming on Hear Music(TM) Channel 75 on XM Satellite Radio. The DVD will be released in U.S. Company-operated locations simultaneous with its national release date at traditional retail.

A Lionsgate, 2929 Entertainment and Starbucks Entertainment production, Akeelah and the Bee was written and directed by Doug Atchison. The film's producers are Sid Ganis, Nancy Ganis, Michael Romersa, Daniel Llewelyn and Laurence Fishburne; executive producers are Todd Wagner, Mark Cuban, Marc Butan, Helen Sugland and Lionsgate's Michael Burns, Michael Paseornek and Tom Ortenberg.

About Starbucks Entertainment

Starbucks Coffee Company launched Starbucks Entertainment in 2004 to help customers discover quality entertainment options as part of their daily coffee routines. Starbucks Coffee Company first acquired Hear Music in 1999 to become Starbucks Hear Music, the sound of music at Starbucks. Starbucks Hear Music has made a transformative impact on the music industry by providing a new and convenient way for consumers to discover, experience and acquire all genres of great music through its Hear Music(TM) CD compilations, its innovative partnerships with other music labels to co-release, market and distribute both exclusive and non-exclusive music, its 24-hour digital music channel on XM Satellite Radio (XM Channel 75) and its breakthrough Starbucks Hear Music(TM) Coffeehouses in Santa Monica, San Antonio and Miami. Starbucks Hear Music CD selections can be purchased at Starbucks retail locations around the world, as well as online at In 2006, Starbucks Entertainment extended beyond music and announced a unique partnership with Lionsgate to market and distribute the inspirational film "Akeelah and the Bee." The company expects the film to be the first of many such partnerships that help customers discover unique and rewarding entertainment.

About Lionsgate

Lionsgate is the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, fresh off the number one box office hits Madea's Family Reunion, Hostel, and Saw II and the Best Picture Academy Award(R) for Crash.

The Company has earned 25 Academy Award(R) nominations and seven Oscar(R) wins in the past seven years, more than any other independent studio. It is a premier producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library of more than 5,000 titles is a valuable source of stable, recurring revenue and is a foundation for growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand name is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the globe.


Copyright Business Wire 2006

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It's the way we do business Contributing positively to our communities and environment is so important to Starbucks that it's a guiding principle of our mission statement. We jointly fulfill this commitment with partners (employees), at all levels of the company, by getting involved together to help build stronger communities and conserve natural resources.

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