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Starbucks’ new ‘Race Together’ campaign turns heads

Starbucks’ race relations efforts criticized

March 27, 2015  |  By: Emily Larsen

If you walked into a Starbucks coffee shop the week of March 16-22 you may have been the target of a new campaign the coffee corporation is rolling out this year. The “Race Together” campaign is taking aim at the much-discussed issue of race and offering up their storefronts for the hard conversations to take place.

Throughout that week, Starbucks faced a media firestorm because of a week-long initiative to introduce the campaign which involved its baristas writing “Race Together” on customers’ cups, or placing on them a sticker with the same words. At the same time, baristas were expected to strike up conversations with customers regarding race while serving them coffee.

Starbucks Tweet

Tweeted response from Starbucks’ Vice President of Global Communication, Corey duBrowa.

As the ‘writing on cups’ initiative ended though, with all eyes still on Starbucks, the vast majority believed the plug had been pulled and the whole campaign stopped because of the intense scrutiny the company was facing.

According to Vice President of Global Communications for Starbucks, this is not the case at all.

The “Race Together” campaign is “only just getting started,” tweets duBrowa. And with a multiple-page spread co-produced by USA Today on the 19th, and more coming in the next year… I believe him.

The next phase of the Race Together campaign is already underway. Starbucks recently guaranteed jobs and a college education to 10,000 unemployed youths as the next phase of its campaign.

In an email from ‘Emily’ of Starbucks’ media team, the wisdom she offered was this, “One of our values is to act with courage, challenging the status quo.  That’s why we couldn’t remain silent on an issue that is troubling the hearts and minds of many in America. We don’t have all of the solutions, but doing nothing makes us part of the problem.”

Join the conversation in person at your local Starbucks, or with the hashtag #RaceTogether.

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