Starbucks Gets Sappy About the 2016 Election in Full-Page Newspaper Ads

Without naming any names, Starbucks celebrates "those who work to include, rather than discriminate."


The New York Times and Wall Street Journal readers Thursday were greeted with a full-page ad calling for "compassion, respect, shared responsibility," and other high-minded virtues from Americans as we slog though the 2016 election season. "When you read the headlines… scroll through your social media feed," or "listen to the candidates," it's easy to mistake America as being "lost," the ad laments. But today, we must "go beyond the hatred and vitriol, and see a different story of America."

A "story that is not bound by party affiliations or religious beliefs."

A story that is neither "left-leaning or right-leaning."

A story about how some corporate-social-responsibility hack convinced the Starbucks leadership that this preening, saccharine call for unity was worthwhile…

"This is not about the choice we make every four years," the new Starbucks ad concludes. "This is about the choices we make every single day." And then comes the Starbucks logo, reminding you to choose your coffee wisely today.

Of course, Starbucks has a history of silly kumbaya messaging and stunts. In 2015, the company embarked on an awkward mission to have baristas "start a dialogue about race" with customers by penning slogans on their coffee cups. If there's anything to be gleaned from this other than a good eyeroll opportunity, it's the way much of it could be read as an implicit criticism of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. There are lines condemning the "hatred and vitriol" you see in the news and on social media and celebrating the virtues of "those who work to include, rather than discriminate." 

Then again, that's pretty standard stuff for Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz, who may be a good businessman but talks about culture and society like someone you would try to avoid late-night in the college dormitory. At Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle Wednesday, Schultz praised John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and asked the assembled to "fill our reservoir back up with the true promise of our country and once again embrace what it means to be Americans."  

Update: Here's page two of the Starbucks ad that ran in the Times and Journal today.

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  1. While I don’t often buy coffee there, it’s nice to see a major chain like Starbucks endorsing the Libertarian Party. At least, I assume that’s what they’re implicitly doing in the ad.

    I mean, they can’t possibly being favoring the Ds over the Rs when it comes to divisiveness and hatred, right? I think both of the major idiocratic parties have been playing various groups against each other for about as long as anyone can remember. It’s pretty much only libertarians who really don’t give a crap what tribe people belong to.

    1. Right on. That is the idea, anyway. However, as that other article from today shows, it is not the case. Libertarianism attracts a lot of communitarians, who can come across as quite racist ( even if they may not be). Communitarians want to control the individual through the local community and see the federal government as the main force that prevents them from doing so. Then there are those of us who are individualists and oppose oppression, whether it be by the Feds, the state, or by the village council.

      As for me, I have no problem with these ads. It’s a good message. I think I will go get some Starbucks today.

    2. I suspect he would say you can’t “work” to include people by leaving them the hell alone. It takes action and, of course, lots of taxing to fund all that action.

    3. Do anyone feel like this ad is really pointed at Trump? Thats how I read it.

      Anyway, Starbucks has some serious gall to make this kind of appeal after lying to and deceiving it My Starbucks Rewards Members. Hypocrisy at its finest.

      These 2 YT videos totally opened my eyes: and

      To pretend to lecture people while doing the very same things. Instead of respect and honoring their customers, they lied to and deceived them. Kind of pathetic.

  2. Why do we need 23 flavors of over-priced coffee?

    1. Why can’t a Starbucks barista earn enough beans to provide for a family of 4, sending the kids to college, and a generous retirement pension?

      It just doesn’t make sense.

      1. Those beans better be fair-trade.

    2. Hey, celebrate diversity.

  3. Sounds like a millennial is now running Starbucks communication department.

    Starbucks slogan should be, ‘WHERE WE SHUT THE FUCK UP AND MAKE YOUR COFFEE’.

    I’d thrive in that environment. There and Kashi.

    1. If any service industry company actually had that slogan, I’d use them exclusively.

  4. Maybe somebody should take out a full page ad with amputated toes from all the diabetes their “cinnabon in a cup” products cause. See, it’s pretty easy to be holier than thou.

    1. Nobody is forcing you to put sugar in your coffee. I am holier than thou art, because I don’t put sugar in mine, and I get it at Starbucks.

      1. Sugar just ruins the burned flavor.

        1. Pike Place is like the dredgings from a recently extinguished oil well fire.

          1. I like recently extinguished oil well fire dredgings.

  5. Hmmm, “those who work to include, rather than discriminate” sounds like an endorsement of Trump – he doesn’t discriminate in who or what he blathers and bloviates about, he includes everybody and everything in his stream-of-unconsciousness trumpologues.

    1. He hates everyone equally.

  6. Sounds like Communism to me.

  7. It’ll be painless to boycott Starbuck’s hate-coffee

    1. It tastes so burnt we call it Charbucks

  8. I kinda like the ad. Or, at least, don’t find it eyeroll-worthy.
    And I’m an eyerolling, back-of-the-classroom, leather jacket Reasonoid kind of guy.
    ENB, sure you’re not “punching down” on the white-bread-eating, Scout-uniform-wearing kid who is nice to everyone and helps the teacher clean the chalkboards after school? There’s nothing wrong with that.

    1. It’s a secret jabs at Mormons. Everyone knows Mormons are nice to everyone.

      1. Oh, I see. Do Mormons run the coffee biz behind the scenes, just like they keep Las Vegas going?

    2. You don’t find it an obvious political ploy? Social-signalling to Democrats?

      1. When did Democrats get a monopoly on being nice to people?

        1. Seems like an obvious jibe against Trump to me.

      2. It’s clearly anti-Trump, without ever mentioning Trump’s name. And it is written by someone from Seattle, who is very likely blind to how immersed they are in progressive groupthink.

        But it isn’t exactly staking out radical political territory by asking people to be moderate and nice. And it is attempting to be non-partisan.

        All I all, it seems well-intentioned and innocuous.

        1. I fully agree with you. Unfortunately, political tribalism has gotten so bad that conservatives would now rebel against the idea of being nice, just because a liberal suggested it.

          1. I have more of a problem with the use of the word “moderate.” In its current usage, “moderation” precludes decreasing the rate of growth of government much less cutting it in size and scope by 75%. Those are “extreme” positions. If you hold them, you are an “extremist” and are part of the problem in this country. So shut up, drink your soy-statist-latte and please allow for the inexorable creep of government control and the raping of your rights.

  9. If you don’t want coffee shops to put out full-page ads against you, don’t harangue Howard Schultz about not putting Santa Claus on his paper cups at Christmas time.

  10. I’m finding myself wondering why anyone cares what goofball ads Starbucks puts out, especially ones as milquetoast as this.

    Just like their coffee*! HEY-OH

    (*disclaimer: I have no particular opinion one way or the other on the flavor of Starbucks coffee)

    1. I have no particular opinion one way or the other on the flavor of Starbucks coffee

      Because it isn’t an opinion that they burn their coffee; it’s an empirically-observable fact.

      1. Which is dumb, since heat breaks down caffeine.

        Light roast jitters FTW!

        1. But their coffee is notorious for its higher caffeine than their competitors.

          1. OK, that is a conundrum. Maybe they are roasting it at a higher heat for a shorter amount of time and carbonizing the exterior and not breaking down the caffeine inside the bean.

            1. Some quick internet research reveals that while Starbucks does have more caffeine on average than most shops, the caffeine content of their espresso beans (used for the drinks) and their dark brewed and blonde brewed coffees still conform to the “darker the roast, lesser the caffeine content” idea.

              The best bang for your caffeine buck is to get a brewed Grande Blonde Roast at 360mg of caffeine. A brewed dark roast is 260mg and a latte is a mere 150mg.

              1. I switched over to the Blonde Roast from the Sumatra a few months ago. There’s a noticeable difference. The first day I was walking around and stuttering like Beavis asking for TP.

      2. Sure, but I don’t care. Burnt beans don’t bother me. Non-burnt beans don’t bother me. Your mom doesn’t bother me…much.

        1. She can be a bit overbearing.

          1. You’re telling me.

        2. It’s more the burn your mom leaves me with afterwards that I’m concerned with…

      3. It’s also to homogenize the flavor across a billion stores.

    2. I love how they reach out through that marvelous and ultra-modern communication platform….the newspaper. Crabby old people now have to turn an extra page to get to the crossword puzzle and obituaries.

      1. I wish they stop dropping newspapers at my house. Everything I need is on the interwebz.

    3. Maybe they should care more about keeping quaility partners. Their pay sucks, decent benefits, capped maximum pay in each pay group all while working their asses off, at least some do, others get a pass just doing the minimum.

  11. Sexy OT: How Bikini Airline Helped to Create Vietnam’s First Woman Billionaire…..illionaire

    1. War on women!

    2. Nice, a story we can all appreciate. But wait, why would a woman willingly put on a bikini and serve drinks? Must be sex trafficking.

  12. “””Schultz praised John F. Kennedy”””

    So Schultz is in favor of lying about the “missile gap” cheating in elections, bringing the world close to nuclear war, popping pain pills, expanding the war in Vietnam, etc

    Or does he just like the media version of Kennedy who was so liberal and wonderful and just about ready to do a 180 on many of his programs until those right wing Texans killed him by using a self proclaimed communist

    1. He just wants to get as much pussy as JFK did.

    2. Dude, JFK single-handedly prevented nuclear war. His generals wanted to push the button.

  13. Samuel L. Jackson from Do the Right Thing agrees.

  14. I’m really into Ethiopian hand pours right now. Just set myself up to do it at home. You really get the subtle flavors of dried fruit and chocolate without any bitterness. Sublime.

    Starbucks will suffice in a pinch (e.g. at the airport), but that’s about all the use I have for them now.

    Sorry, what were we talking about?

    1. I prefer to do my own coffee. Every time I go into some mom & pop coffee shop in disappointed. Personally I use a French press, but I’m not opposed to trying hand pouring at home.

      1. I’m lucky to have two outstanding roasters in town. I don’t trust myself to do it as well as they do.

        1. Which pour over are you using?

          1. The Hario V60. Just got everything for the office because our coffee here is awful.

    2. I’m really into Ethiopian hand pours right now.

      No one cares about your queer sex life.

      1. Not even Crusty? I thought he cared about everyone’s sex life.

        1. Crusty only cares if your in-home Ethiopian is an old white lady.

          1. Dude, why you gotta racist me?

      2. You better hope no one loses interest in queer sex stories or you’re out of a job friend.

        1. +2 mutton flaps

    3. I got a Bialetti recently. It makes something espresso-like, but not quite. I dilute it 1:1 with hot water for an Americano.

  15. That and $20.00 will get you a cup of coffee, lol

  16. It’s a story that is not bound by… It’s not dependent on living in one zip code over another. … It’s not about your income or your wealth.

    Except you know… when it often is and people are justifiably upset about that.

  17. In 2015, the company embarked on an awkward mission to have baristas “start a dialogue about race” with customers by penning slogans on their coffee cups.

    I don’t frequent Starbucks. Did this actually happen to anyone? I fear that I would have thrown a coffee in a barista’s face if he/she would have written any presumptuous, preachy BS on my coffee cup.

    1. They bailed out on it fairly quickly.

      1. Yeah, the ridicule was deafening.

    2. How about this for starting a conversation on race, “…blacks should no more vote for Hillary or Bernie than they should the grand wizard of the KKK, because they keep giving us all these bad policies.”

  18. So Elizabeth, an American businessman decides to spend money on advertisements about political campaigns, and that earns your derision?

    Hate to break this to you, but the Koch’s, through their PAC Americans for Prosperity, spend much more every year on political campaign advertisements. In fact their ads are even more laughable and sappy, ones that they eventually have to take back when they earn two Pinnochios.

    Of course, you never mention those. I think the Starbucks ad was right on point. Kind of summarizes some of the same coma onyx Reason has made about Trump.…..obamacare/

    1. *complaints.

    2. Fuck off, joe. Go troll your own asshole in the shower.

      1. I still don’t believe it’s joe.

        It’s highly partisan, though.

        (Whiny voice) You only hate it when progressives are sappy, and that’s not fair! (/Whiny voice)

    3. And bear in mind, Jack is of the faction which thinks it has a monopoly on civility in public life.

      1. You rednecks don’t know anything about civility, you stupid, racist Jesus freak!

        1. You always hear progressives whinging on about the Kochs. They aren’t even in the top ten of political donors. The amount they spend is dwarfed by what say, Tom Steyer spends. Somehow his name, or the SEIU never come up in these silly fits about money in politics.

          1. It’s effective marketing.

            My ol’ boss used to say that you know your marketing is working when your customers repeat it back to you.

            They used the Kochs in their marketing cycles ago, and their base hasn’t stopped talking about it yet.

    4. Everyone knows who Starbucks is. And for that matter Trump, Obama, ISIS. There’s an obvious and apolitical motivation for “bias” towards those subjects over some esoteric left-wing CT target.

    5. Yea i don’t think taking out an ad was the issue with ENB. It was how sappy it was. What does Koch ads have to do with this topic?

      1. It’s Joe.

        The collapse of his life in 2008 has made him a shell of what he once was.

        At first blush, one would think he is too stupid to recognize the distinction between his party’s position “people should be forbidden and prevented from publishing their thoughts on politics unless they are approved by the state” and somone saying “the message a group of people published is vapid and silly and they just wasted their money; something they should really not do”.

        But that’s not what’s happening here. He knows he is constructing a strawman.

        I suspect he just does it because
        a) It feels good to lash out at the people who make him feel bad
        b) It might fool some of the readers on the more credulous end of the spectrum into believing Joe’s faction are right.

        From his angry departure and slithering return under different handles, I suspect that Joe knows deep down that we are right, and he is wrong, but like an ardent Japanese infantryman looking at the starvation and death around him, the corpses of his comrades. their reduction to savagery in the absence of any supplies for over a year, he just emotionally cannot abandon that which he dedicated his life to. Better to hide in the jungle, commit the occasional theft and murder and believe that he carries on the fight for an Emperor that had no concern for his existence.

        1. But joe was smarter than this, and joe could be genuinely funny.

          This guy hasn’t made a single post that wasn’t laughable–as in laughing at him rather than laughing with him.

          I don’t think this guy could be genuinely funny in a million years.

          1. Living amongst the proggies, it’s a descent I have seen in a number of people.

            They thought Obama would usher in a new golden age. They are increasing the fierceness with which they assert that they are living in a golden age. Yet, you can see that they know deep down that their dreams are turning to ash. They are very bitter.

            I am increasingly of the opinion that proggies are emotionally incapable of accepting things aren’t the way they want them to be – hence the totalitarian impulse to legislate all aspects of their own and their neighbors’ lives. And thus they can’t be humorous. Their bitterness consumes them.

            1. The proggies are always bitter. Even when obama won, they were still miserable. I think they have a lot of contempt for others and suffer from the crab bucket syndrome.

      2. It’s only sappy if you think every complaint Reason has had over Trump is sappy. And at the end of the day, if sappy it is, that is preferable over being wrong and offensive.…..age-afp-ad

        And AFP issued an apology for that ad above.

        And that my friend is what this has to do with the Kochs.

        1. It’s only sappy if you think every complaint Reason has had over Trump is sappy.

          Um, no. Reason’s criticisms of Trump don’t consist of a collection of mealy-mouthed platitudes.

          1. Go and look at the words used in ads second page. “Division, exclusion, fear…”

            All words Reason has used to describe the Trump campaign.

            Keep trying. You’ll get something right. Eventually.

            1. All words Reason has backed with specific examples. This ad amounts to yelling “CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG”. You fail again.

        2. And that my friend is what this has to do with the Kochs.

          In other words: nothing.

    6. *Yawn*. Tiresome as usual.


  19. I’d like to buy the world a home
    and furnish it with love
    Grow apple trees and honey bees
    and snow white turtle dove

    I’d like to teach the world to sing
    in perfect harmony
    I’d like to buy the world a Coke
    and keep it company…..193171001/

    Marketing is excellent if it works.

    ENB wouldn’t take money from Starbucks to write a story about them, but she will do it for free.

    I bet there are blogs and reporters and average people all over the place talking about Starbucks because of this. It would be tempting to say you can’t buy that kind of advertising, but, actually, it was the price of a couple of ads in the NYT and the WSJ.

    Kumbaya, my Lord
    Kumbaya, my Lord
    Kumbaya, my Lord
    Oh Lord, shop Whole Foods


  20. I see no difference between Starbuck’s vision of politics and everyone else’s.

    Its all just trying to sell you some shit by telling you you’re a better person for buying it.

    1. This.

  21. Reads like a diversity and inclusiveness monologue [is there any other kind?]; If this isn’t a tacit endorsement of Democrats [Sanders, but realistically Her Royal Clint] then I’m a nonkey’s muncle.

  22. Starbucks is no better than Adam Lanza.

    I knew we’d reach this space.

    1. But not a safe space [at least we can be thankful for that, in a convoluted sort of way].

  23. “It’s subtle and mild. Mild like that first splash of sun on an April Morning. This coffee is coffee the way it should be…”

  24. I was at a Starbucks recently and their mission is to “tackle climate change”. How does one tackle climate change?

    1. By preaching bullshit at you at every opportunity; and if you happen to eschew their over priced business model, they take out full page ads in the few remaining major newspapers [that are only all to happy for the ad revenue].

  25. Their coffee tastes burnt and they don’t have a small cup. They call it something weird in some foreign language.

    1. Starbucks regular coffee is nasty. Their cold brew is a little better. Einstein’s Bagels has the best coffee and you can get a jug of it for cheap.

      1. But “Einstein’s Bagels” is cultural appropriation.

        1. It’s apparently OK to appropriate Jewish culture, or any culture without progressively approved claim to have suffered from Western culture.

    2. It’s bad enough that their coffee is worse than every competitor but the smug on top just makes it so worthwhile to avoid if at all possible.

      1. Dunkin Donuts is definitely worse than Starbucks, but this would be like arguing which presidential candidate is better. They both suck.

    3. You mean like, “short?”

  26. I’ll take McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts coffee every day and twice on Sunday.

  27. This is just another reason to visit your local, overpriced, hipster-infused cafe. Bonus points if you visit a location in a dangerous part of town.

    1. +2 gluten-free acai berry biscotti

  28. But the left says that Citizens United is bad. So shouldn’t messages like this be prevented?

    1. These are the “right thinking” people…so it is cool!

    2. Starbucks is not people. Even if does taste like burnt ass.

  29. Who cares what a bunch of “coffee” swilling prigs has to say about anything? Present company included.

  30. In 2015, the company embarked on an awkward mission to have baristas “start a dialogue about race” with customers by penning slogans on their coffee cups.

    “You want a discussion about race? Fine. Make my coffee sweet and black.”

  31. So is Trump trying to make Starbucks pay for his birth control? Or is Starbucks hosting this year’s porn industry trade show? I’m so confused, ENB!

  32. So is Trump trying to make Starbucks pay for his birth control? Or is Starbucks hosting this year’s porn industry trade show? I’m so confused, ENB!


  34. Starbucks has some serious gall to make this kind of appeal after lying to and deceiving it My Starbucks Rewards Members. Hypocrisy at its finest.

    These 2 YT videos totally opened my eyes: and

    To pretend to lecture people while doing the very same things. Instead of respect and honoring their customers, they lied to and deceived them.

    1. I’m cutting up my gold membership card and mailing it back. I just buy coffee, I like burnt ass, so people like me who goes almost everyday get screwed. I would get 7/11 coffee but I have to get my fat ass out of the car and actually walk in and have to deal with real people.

  35. I couldn’t help but notice that they don’t mention the election also being about a candidate who took millions in bribes from foreign governments, exposed highly classified data on unsecured systems because she didn’t want to get caught (and was too lazy to use the classified systems), and who got four people killed in an embassy because she was utterly incompetent at her job.

    If Howard Schultz doesn’t think those are big enough issues to mention, then fuck him, his feelings, and his overrated, overpriced coffee for posers.

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