Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has transformed the “memo from the CEO” into an advertising art form—remember his 2007 epic on how taking away the coffee smell in Starbucks created “stores that no longer have the soul of the past“?
Now he’s back with full-page ads in national media on why “America needs to win the election” in 2012 by putting aside our partisan bickering.
And he’s going to sell some brownies.
Schultz appears sincere in his desire to change the tone of political dialog in America. He’s not the only person who is dismayed at the sheer number of people who shriek that everything President Obama does is “unconstitutional,” and their critics.
And it’s impressive that he got 150 CEOs to sign a pledge to stop making political donations. (After all, it’s the way corporate money overwhelms public debate that’s the real poison in the system.)
But his latest call to action — in which customers are asked to retweet the hashtag #Indivisible and then stop by Starbucks on July 4 for a free cup of coffee — looks more likely to boost Starbucks’ profits than “win” an election for America.
First, there’s the excessively vague notion of what Schultz actually wants us all to do:Starting today, I invite you to share your view of America, and how we can all put citizenship over partisanship. On Instagram, post a photo of the America we all need to see. On Twitter, provide a link to an innovative idea. Blog about who’s making a difference in your community; or on YouTube, share how you made your American Dream come true. No matter where you post, if you use the tag #indivisible, Starbucks will do its part to collect and amplify your voices.
Here’s the effect it’s actually having on Twitter: People are simply retweeting #Indivisible with the message that Starbucks is giving away free coffee. Here’s a typical tweet:
I’m not against free coffee, but the obvious effect of giving away free coffee will be to generate incremental sales from all the people who arrive at the counter and think, Hmm, maybe I’ll have a brownie while I’m here.
So bravo, Mr. Schultz. You have successfully channeled our national distaste for polarising rancor into sales of baked goods.Related:
- DEAR HOWARD SCHULTZ: Fix This Appalling Starbucks Design Flaw Now
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