Howard Schultz is at it again. This time, the increasingly outspoken founder and CEO of Starbucks has issued a Fourth of July rallying cry, in the form of a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal calling for nothing less than the restoration of the American dream.
The brand's new coming-together campaign, called Indivisible, echoes the slogan on the fundraising wristbands for its Create Jobs for USA campaign that launched last November, while giving it a political voice in the U.S. election being decided this coming November.
In the open letter to WSJ readers — titled "How Can America Win This Election?" — Schultz invited all comers to "share your view of America, and how we can all put citizenship over partisanship." To facilitate such a "conversation," he said that the company "will do its part to amplify" responses to his invitation for people to file their thoughts and impressions online under the Twitter #INDIVISIBLE hashtag.
Just as Levi's patriotic Go Forth campaign sold denim along with the American dream over the past few Independence Days, Starbucks has a business to run — so the company also just released a new Indivisible range at its stores that includes a special blend of coffee, a mug and a tumbler in which to enjoy the taste of freedom — along with announcing a donation by Citi towards its Create Jobs for USA initiative.
The social campaign — "Post a photo of the America we all need to see" on Instagram, he suggested. "Provide a link to an innovative idea" on Twitter. "Share how you made your American dream come true" on YouTube. — is designed to rally pride in what Schultz, and by extension the brand, sees as the core greatness of America. The Indivisible campaign is less evident on the Starbucks Facebook page, which is global, than on Create Jobs for USA Facebook page, where this was posted on Sunday:
For a couple of years now, Schultz has boldly used his high platform to speak out on the chronic ills that he believes are ailing America, including Washington's inability to come together to make sound policy that will advance the country. You might recall the Sept. 2011 townhall meeting that Schultz hosted to address the crisis in confidence he sees in America.
"On this Fourth of July," his new letter states, "our communities need all of us." He bemoaned unemployment and the financial stresses on famlies, a sub-par welcome home for military veterans and ideological division in politics. "I love America, but we all know there is something wrong," he wrote. "Our inabilty to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit."
And, indeed, consumer confidence in June has fallend to its lowest level this year. Of course, the rancor over the ObamaCare decision by the Supreme Court last week only hardened the partisan divide.
Schultz argues, "We are better than this." And along with his offer to curate the encouragements by others under the #INDIVISIBLE banner, he reminded readers that Starbucks has been doing its part by increasing its local community service and helping to finance small-business job creation under its Create Jobs for USA program. And oh, one more thing — "Your local Starbucks will proudly serve everyone a free tall hot brewed coffee on the Fourth of July."