I am sure most of you have heard about Starbucks’ social responsibility marketing campaign called “Race Together.” If you haven’t, they are encouraging baristas to write (randomly) on some customers’ cups the hashtag #Racetogether. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s grand idea was that we need to have more conversations about race, demonstrated by Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, etc. He thought this might get customers asking the barista what the bleep it meant and that could start a conversation about race. 40% of Starbuck’s baristas are minorities.
With all due respect to a good intention, if I wanted to have a conversation about race, the last person I would choose is my barista. Random people using a Twitter hashtag they found at Starbucks is not far from the bottom either. Perhaps they could encourage you to talk about race with whoever you came to Starbucks with, except for the fact that Starbucks seems to be filled with people who came to camp out alone at a table and work. Or takeout.
So good for Howard Schultz in trying to get us talking about race. But as for the marketing team that came up with the implementation . . . . . You really suck.