This past 2018 holiday season, Starbucks was giving away free coffee. Did you miss out?

A Free Tumbler + 30 Days of Coffee for $40

What is most interesting is their offer. If you bought a tumbler for $40.00, you could get coffee or tea for free for 30 days.

How Good Is The Offer?

Tumbler might normally cost anywhere between $10 to $20.

Grande-sized coffee is about $2.45.  If you take advantage fully of the offer and get a coffee a day, that would cost about $73.

Doing the math, this is definitely a win for the customer.

Now, Let’s Layer in Behavior Design

A behavior happens when MOTIVATION, ABILITY and a PROMPT happen at the same time.

So, let’s break this down in terms of what Starbucks did…

Starbucks’ Aspiration Is To Have Consistent Customers

This promotion was designed to as a gateway behavior to onboard Starbucks into your daily life.

How did they do it?


Promotion: Starbucks positioned the promotion where the line begins. When the line is short, you might just walk by it. But, when the line is long you will probably take a look at it and possibly touch on of the Tumblers.


Pleasure: If you like coffee, getting more of it (30 days of if for one price) will probably increase that pleasure. Caffeine also has a pretty immediate effect so someone would see the value of their purchase pretty quickly.

Fear: This offer was only available for a limited time. Scarcity is a powerful trigger.

Motivation Waves: There is a reason why businesses all offer promotions from November to December. That is because people are in the buying mood and it is a lot easier to “move a bolder when it is already moving.” This is known as a “motivation wave.”


Discount: by offering coffee at a discount, Starbucks is increasing your financial ability to afford their coffee. Secondly, when something is already paid for, you won’t think twice about ordering a cup. Lastly, scoring a discount always feels really good.

Virtue Signaling: The reusable tumbler increases our ability to be environmentally conscious. This is something that we can signal to others similar to how Toyota increased way we thought about ourselves as someone that “cares about the enviornment” by driving a Prius.

Number of Locations: Starbucks has locations just about everywhere. They offer a service that is quick, friendly and consistent so they know it will be easy for you to take advantage of the offer.

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Short term, Starbucks may be losing some profit but they are doing this to design you into a daily customer.

After that thirty days promotion is up up, do you think that you will stop buying coffee?

Not only do I bet you would continue, but I can also bet that you will keep up with a similar frequency of buying a cup a day.

If you got this tumbler as a gift and weren’t a normal Starbucks customer, you may go from spending close to $0 to now spending about $70 a month based on that new behavior that they want from you.

Brilliant job Starbucks!