Dear Dr. Ads,
I was enjoying a latte at the Coolidge Corner Starbucks and reading the New York Times yesterday when I came across this ad:
You can imagine my surprise – why is a coffee chain jumping into the chain-gang affairs of Congress? Shouldn’t Starbucks just concentrate on getting my order right?
– Foaming in Beantown
Depends. The more complicated your order is, the less sympathy I have for you.
As for the shutdown ad, the jury’s still out on exactly what the hell Starbucks is doing. An Associated Press report (via the Boston Globe) noted this:
The move is unusual for a company like Starbucks Corp. While big brands generally steer clear of politics to avoid alienating customers, Starbucks and its outspoken chief executive, Howard Schultz, have run toward the spotlight by trying to gain a voice in national political issues.
But because the company’s efforts are generally nonpartisan and unlikely to cause controversy, marketing and corporate image experts say they burnish Starbucks’ reputation as a socially conscious company.
‘‘It’s always risky when brands mix politics and business,’’ said Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York-based branding firm Landor Associates. ‘‘But the benefit for Starbucks likely outweighs the risk.’’
Not according to The Daily Beast’s Daniel Gross, though.
The Starbucks Shutdown Petition Is Baloney
For the record, I love Starbucks. I’ve got a Starbucks card in my wallet. I regularly wow bystanders by brandishing the Starbucks mobile payment app on my iPhone. At home, I start the day by scooping out a couple of heaping tablespoons of Starbucks espresso roast into my Breville machine.
But I was a bit dismayed by this morning’s news that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is spearheading a nonpartisan drive to jolt Washington into action. On the company’s home page there’s a plea to “our leaders in Washington, D.C.” to come together to reopen the government, pay our debts, and “pass a bipartisan and comprehensive long-term budget deal by the end of the year.”
That isn’t doppio. It’s dopey-yo.
Whatever that means. But here’s Gross’s point, doppio or not:
Why is this annoying? Look, it isn’t D.C. leaders who have shut down the government and refuse to open it. It isn’t Washington that is blithely threatening not to meet our collective financial obligations. And it isn’t D.C. leaders who are refusing to enter negotiations about a longer-term budget deal. Rather, it’s Republicans behind all three.
So, presumably, all the barista-beholden should be steaming about the GOP, not the Democrats.
Time for a coffee break, yeah?