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Singer Neil Young boycotts Starbucks over Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law

Paul E. Olsen, Karen Popovich, Alexandra Brenock
November 1, 2016
North America
Ethics & Social Justice, Strategy & General Management
12 pages
Public Relations, PR, crisis management, social media, media
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.73)
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Late in 2014, singer Neil Young issued a social media message calling for a boycott of Starbucks. Young alleged that Starbucks, as a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), supported a lawsuit that aimed to block a Vermont law that required genetically-modified food ingredients be labeled. A self-described loyal customer, Kyle Roberson, heard about the boycott from mainstream media sources including The Washington Post, Burlington (Vermont) Free Press,, and Could Kyle continue to patronize Starbucks if what Neil Young said was true? While waiting for the official Starbucks response, Kyle investigated the legislation, the parties in the lawsuit, and Young’s call for a boycott.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Perform a SWOT company and industry analysis.
  2. Analyze markets using the CAGE criteria.
  3. Determine appropriate marketing approaches for a country.
  4. Determine appropriate market entry strategies for a country.
  5. Create a marketing plan for a country based on a SWOT analysis, the CAGE criteria, marketing approaches, and market entry strategies.