Some days you come across two stories that, when combined together, are far more interesting than they are separately. Case and point, two curiously complimentary (conspiratorial!?) stories that came across the wire today:

  • Starbucks Announces Relationship With William Morris Agency; As the Coffee Retailer Transforms Traditional Music Distribution and Motion Picture Marketing, Talent Agency Enlisted to Identify Projects | Nachrichten |
  • Health & Medical News – Coffee makes us say ‘yes’ – 01/05/2006

Now of course I am being facetious. The belief that you should “never assume a conspiracy where incompetence will suffice” is written gospel to me. (I would never make it in Italy.) But here’s the lowdown on these two stories, and together they make for some interesting conspiracy fodder…

Would you like a latte with that home entertainment system?

First, Starbucks Coffee continuously seems to fashion itself as an entertainment company rather than a worldwide chain of coffee houses. Today they announced a relationship with the William Morris Agency (WMA). Yes, the agency that once represented Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley — and today represents many of their modern day equivalents — is jumping in the coffee sack with the company-formerly-known-as-Starbucks, who just brought us the movie Akeelah and the Bee this past weekend.

Quoted in the press release is Ken Lombard, president, Starbucks Entertainment (notice that curious division name?): “We are extremely excited about the value that William Morris is providing to our strategy and more importantly bringing quality entertainment choices to our customers.”

First step, William Morris. Second step, Philip Morris.

Which brings us to the second article. As regular readers of TheShot know, I normally refuse to post on the medical blather du jour about caffeine and coffee — largely because unfiltered health information is the legacy of a scientifically ignorant mainstream media (and is one of the industry’s most painfully obvious embarassments).

But researchers in Australia have apparently found that caffeine makes us more open to persuasion… and, perhaps, advertising. To quote the article:

Their experiments showed that “caffeine increases persuasion through instigating systematic processing of the message.” But caffeine also puts people in a better mood, which makes them more likely to agree with a message, the researchers say.

You know you want that Pauly Shore anthology box set, don’t you? Oh, and have another latte — it’s on the house.

I forget… was George Orwell a former WMA client?