Starbucks Cuts Way Back on Race Relations Promotion

Starbucks sign. Photo by Marco Pakoeningrat.

Our Take!

Pretty much everyone saw this one coming. I think Starbucks should be applauded for wanting to spark a conversation about race, something very few Americans feel comfortable talking about outside of their own culture/racial environment, but this promotion had failure written all over it.

By Jason Dean and Ilan Brat

Starbucks Corp. halted a key element of its initiative to stimulate discussion of race while Chief Executive Howard Schultz vowed to continue other aspects of the campaign despite strong criticism over the coffee giant’s move to wade into a complex and divisive issue.

Mr. Schultz, in a letter to employees, said that as of Sunday they would no longer be asked to write “Race Together,” or place similar stickers, on cups given to customers. He said that discontinuing that element of the Race Together initiative was part of Starbucks’s plan from the beginning.

That timing wasn’t mentioned in materials Starbucks put out publicly in the past week to trumpet the campaign. But Jim Olson, a Starbucks spokesman, said that March 22 had been communicated to its stores previously as the planned last date for the cup-writing part of the campaign, and that Sunday’s change wasn’t a response to criticism. READ MORE …

[Published by the Wall Street Journal]

Photo by Marco Pakoeningrat.

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