::::“Akeelah and the Bee, STARTS APRIL 28th::::

Akeelah and the Bee, NEW MOVIE

The upcoming film “Akeelah and the Bee,” starring Keke Palmer (Akeelah) as an inner-city kid who competes at the national spelling bee, will get a fresh cup of aggressive marketing from your local Starbucks employees beginning today.

The retail coffee chain is named as a co-presenter of “Akeelah” in the film’s opening credits along with Lionsgate and producer 2929 Entertainment, but is in fact a promotional partner in the film’s launch. Starbucks appears to be the first retail or brand promotional partner to get a cut of a movie’s profits, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Under the deal, Starbucks’ estimated 30 million customers will encounter promotional in-store signage, cup sleeves, coasters, flash cards, magnets, and on lanyards worn by Starbucks’ staff of baristas. The ads will contain more than 25 words featured in the film’s spelling bees, such as pulchritude and prestidigitation.

In addition, Starbucks customers can expect their baristas to try and slip “Akeelah and the Bee” talk into friendly conversation as you wait on your Mocha Frappuccino. The employees were either invited to advance screenings or were sent the trailer on DVD, and are expected to spark dialogue about the film with customers, said Starbucks Entertainment president Ken Lombard.

Through its T-Mobile HotSpot network, the Starbucks campaign for “Akeelah” also will offer customers access to the movie trailer, a clip from the film, links to the “Akeelah” Web site (http://www.akeelahandthebee.com) and links to music from the movie on the Starbucks Hear Music homepage. It will sell travel-size Scrabble as part of the promotion, and the DVD will be released in Starbucks locations simultaneously with its national release at traditional retail.

“We can provide the studios with a very unique opportunity to reach moviegoers in a way they currently don’t have and frankly is going to help with better box office performance for their films,” Lombard said.

“Akeelah” also stars Angela Bassett as Akeelah’s mother and Laurence Fishburne as her tutor. The film arrives in theaters on April 28.


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