Starbucks ‘Race Together’ promotion sparks controversy

Critics blasted the coffee company for using race relations as a marketing gimmick.

Starbucks is getting slammed for its #RaceTogether campaign.

Baristas at 12,000 Starbucks locations were given the task of starting conversations with customers about race relations this week. They’re being asked to write #RaceTogether on a customer’s coffee cup to spark a discussion.

CEO Howard Schultz says the campaign was inspired by a company forum in December. Fortune reports 40 percent of Starbucks’ nearly 200,000 employees are part of a racial minority group.

Reception to the campaign has been overwhelmingly negative, with some critics writing articles disdaining the strategy and many more taking to social media:

In addition to being berated for racism whenever you open Twitter or turn on theTV, now it can happen when you buy a coffee! #RaceTogether

— Kevin Eder (@keder) March 17, 2015

“Excuse me sir we no longer refer to them as black & white cookies. They are equality cookies.” pic.twitter.com/3j3AzPfLF5

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.