Arkr Digital formally took over the account at the beginning of June. An agency spokesperson said the team "hit it off" with the client after a single-round pitch that swiftly reached an agreement.
The coffee company officially entered the Chinese market in 1999, and at present operates more than 1,000 stores in 60 cities in the mainland. Over the past year, Starbucks has been focusing on establishing denser physical presence and even more retail store rollouts.
A source close to the brand told Campaign Asia-Pacific that focal point came at the expense of social-media marketing investments, and the appointment of the smaller digital agency indicated the brand's social-media budget has been "further reduced".
Arkr Digital, on the other hand, is eager to commit to the big-brand client for its portfolio, and said it would "make full use of [its] creative, planning and execution strengths in the field of FMCG for increased opportunities for interactive experiences".
Starbucks has built brand affinity for creating innovative social media campaigns like the Chinese New Year Daily Goodness Calendar that enhanced consumer stickiness in the past.