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December 29, 2012  | by: LaToya Harris

Starbucks coffee cup (Photo courtesy of Cherrysweetdeal

 

 

When we think of coffee, we think of energy. We think of morning discussions and workloads. But, we are usually the ones who provide  the content; we provide the words. This week, Starbucks coffee company exercised their right of freedom of speech and creativity when they decided to use their coffee cups as a platform to express political unity, opinion, and influence. If you see the words “Come Together” written on the side of your coffee cup , think about the national debt and not the Beatles’ song.

On December 26th, the chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks, Howard Schultz announced (on the Starbucks website) that their partners in the Washington D.C. area would be writing the phrase “Come Together” on customer coffee cups. The clever phrase’s purpose is to unite the members of Congress to “come together” to develop a financial plan for the debt crisis. At first glance, this appears to be a great move for Starbucks because they are not taking sides, so the chances for backlash appear to be slim to none.  It’s reminiscent of Coca Cola’s song: “I’d Like to to Teach the World to Sing.

If Starbucks or anyone else is going to view someone or something (such as politics) through a critical lens, then they have to expect that people are going to view them with a critical lens. Some people have responded to the “Come Together” post on Starbucks’ website by criticizing their prices, suggesting they can help improve the economy by lowering them. Mcnkldzyn said, “It would be a nice start for them to lower prices.” Although you have the option of getting your coffee from a less expensive brand, I think Mcnkldzyn has a good point. The issue of the upper class paying higher taxes (to improve the economy) was also highlighted by some responders on Starbucks’ website.

Starbucks cup (Photo courtesy of TerryJohnston)

 

 

Lastly, I believe that Starbucks’ political involvement with the “Come Together” slogan may be viewed as a positive idea because it highlights unity, but people will eventually examine Starbucks’ role in the economy. Their examination is automatically going to lead to criticism of the coffee company if they feel like they are not practicing what they preach, and I understand that concept. But, I think the message will probably reach the “elected officials” that Schultz is aiming to target.

What do you think about Starbucks’ “Come Together” campaign?

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