Starbucks’ trenta provides marketing example of intentional fact error

UF has several Starbucks locations on campus.

In Writing for Mass Communication, one of the course goals is to help students eliminate fact errors from their writing. As is true in many communications programs throughout the country, the fact error has a heavy penalty. In Writing for Mass Communication, the dreaded fact error merits a 50-point deduction.

I run into students several semesters (or even years) after they have taken Writing for Mass Communication, and they still remember the fact error(s) they made.

We hope that having the point deduction when the students are writing class assignments will motivate them to edit and fact check their own work (and others’) with care in the future — and when those stories, news releases and ads could be published.

So, I was interested in the fact error reported by Marketplace of Starbucks’ new iced drink size — trenta.

Complete with a Google voice to provide Italian number pronunciation, Marketplace notes that the new size is 31 ounces but is being called trenta, which means 30.

The Marketplace story says that 31 ounces is trent-uno.

After hearing the story, I did a little fact checking on my own and found that the Starbucks trenta size was test marketed last spring in response to McDonald’s 32-ounce tea, which was a bigger drink for a smaller price than Starbucks was selling.

McDonald’s still has the larger drink size — by one ounce — and has avoided a fact error and the need for Italian pronunciation. The name of the McDonald’s drink size is — large.

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