Earlier this week it was reported Oprah was closing her Harpo studio in Chicago, well it seems that left room for this “venti” deal with Starbucks. Oprah a self-confessed tea drinker is joining forces with mega brand Starbucks to create a tea of her own, called Teavana Oprah Chai Tea.
This comes as a major announcement as Starbucks is the first company Oprah has attached her name to. Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks surprised his employees at their annual meeting with the introduction of the media mogul and her signature tea. Oprah has been approached over the years by numerous brands to represent them; however she has repeatedly turned down all previous offers. Oprah feels Starbucks is in line with what her brand represents and she feels it was a natural collaboration. As a proclaimed tea lover, Oprah was personally involved in the creation of this blend.
Oprah and Starbucks are two names most widely recognized and both synonymous with descriptions such as; universal success, billionaire brands, who draw cult-like followers. Oprah interviewed Schultz on her show Super Soul Sunday sometime last year in which she and Schultz shared similar world views on spirituality, and the human experience. It is believed that it was after this meeting Oprah and Schultz began exploring the idea of this venti collaboration.
Starbucks is world re-known for its coffee, and has experienced a loyal consumer base over the years of customers who do not mind spending over $3 for a cup of Joe. With the exceptional success in the coffee industry Starbucks branched off in 2013 into the $90 billion dollar tea industry and opened its’ first tea shop in New York. Due to that immediate success that opening was followed by a second in Seattle, with future plans for at least 1,000 more tea shops in and outside the United States.
Oprah’s brand has grown over the years in all areas of media including television, web, and media print; this is a far cry from anything she has done. However, if history is a good indication of the future almost anything Oprah touches turns to gold. This venture does falls short of an endorsement deal because Oprah, in the spirit of her brand, will be donating all proceeds from this collaboration to education charities for youth, including her Leadership Academy Foundation. With Oprah’s name attached to the venti deal and Starbucks reputation, it would be safe to say the moguls will have no problem getting the premium prices for their new product. However, the upside to the high-priced tea is Oprah’s proceeds will be going to charity, perhaps the Chai tea can be written off as a charitable donation.
The signature tea is expected to be released sometime this spring before the Mother’s Day holiday and will be available at both Starbucks and Teavana Bars. For all the Starbucks lovers look forward to even longer lines at your local café’s as the mogul’s tea is sure to bring about devout followers. The collaboration of the two mega brands Oprah and Starbucks is nothing short of a venti deal.
By Debra Pittman