In the latest political intervention, the coffee behemoth took out full-page ads in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, urging readers to take a more positive view of America — an implied rebuke to GOP front-runner Donald Trump — who was, however, not named specifically.
The ad read, in part: “When you read the headlines. Or turn on the news. When you scroll through your social media feed. Or listen to the candidates. You could easily mistake America as a nation, lost… Today, for just a moment, we wanted to pause and reflect. To go beyond the hatred and vitriol, and see a different story of America.”
Among other examples, the ad pointed to “those who work to include, rather than discriminate.”
The next page of the ad takes a more visual approach, pairing two columns of opposing words against black-and-white backgrounds.
Some of the opposing sets include “Division/Unity,” “Ego/Humility,” “Exclusion/Inclusion,” “Partisanship/Leadership” and “Blame/Responsibility.” It concludes: “Every day, we have a choice.”
Last year, Starbucks attracted attention (and a good amount of criticism) for its “Race Together” campaign, when it sought to spur a national conversation about the delicate subject of race relations by having baristas write slogans on coffee cups and asking customers their opinions on race.
The general consensus was that this is not something most people want to discuss with a random stranger, and certainly not first thing in the morning before they’ve had their first cup of coffee.
By contrast, the current campaign has the benefit of being vague enough, and with a sufficiently passive presentation, that you can kind of read whatever you want into it. Most people probably wouldn’t argue with a call for civility — except maybe that Trump supporter who punched that guy in the nose. But I doubt he reads the NYT or WSJ.