Star­bucks cups get po­lit­i­cal

In cap­i­tal, lat­tes come with mes­sage on bud­get im­passe.

Austin American-Statesman - - NEWS -

NEW YORK — Star­bucks is us­ing its cof­fee cups to jump into the po­lit­i­cal fray in Washington.

The world’s big­gest cof­fee chain is ask­ing em­ploy­ees at cafes in the Washington, D.C., area to scrib­ble the words “Come To­gether” on cups for drink or­ders Thurs­day and Fri­day. CEO Howard Schultz says the words are in­tended as a mes­sage to law­mak­ers about the dam­age be­ing caused by the di­vi­sive ne­go­ti­a­tions over the “fis­cal cliff.”

It’s the first time em­ploy­ees at Star­bucks are be­ing asked to write any­thing other than cus­tomers’ names on cups.

While com­pa­nies gen­er­ally steer clear of pol­i­tics to avoid alien­at­ing cus­tomers, the plea to “Come To­gether” is a sen­ti­ment un­likely to cause con­tro­versy. If any­thing, Star­bucks could score points with cus­tomers and bur­nish its im­age as a so­cially con­scious com­pany.

This isn’t the first time the cof­fee chain is us­ing its plat­form to send a po­lit­i­cal mes­sage. In the sum­mer of 2011, Schultz also asked other CEOs and the pub­lic to stop mak­ing cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions un­til politi­cians dealt with the debt ceil­ing cri­sis that led to a down­grade in the coun­try’s credit rat­ing.

For the lat­est push, Star­bucks is tak­ing out an ad in the Washington Post Thurs­day show­ing a cup with the words “Come To­gether” on it.

As for whether cus­tomers will un­der­stand the “Come To­gether” mes­sage is re­lated to the fis­cal cliff, Schultz said Star­bucks will use so­cial me­dia to ex­plain.

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