Starbucks is resurrecting their "Pass the Cheer" campaign and the It's Red Again microsite.
About the campaign:
Starbucks kicks off the holidays Pay it Forward-style by disseminating cheer on chilly city streets. Baristas hand out movie tickets and other small gifts on the condition that the recipient has to do something nice for someone else.
The campaign includes a "cheer pass" that tracks how far the "chain of cheer" has gone. Participants are encouraged to visit It's Red Again to share holiday stories and create greetings. The site is hosted by an awkward-looking man who personifies Starbucks' quirky intellectual vibe. It's also ridden with clever recommendations about holiday coffee blends and seasonal cakes.
CEO Jim Donald says they're interested in the qualitative results of the campaign and admits there aren't any of the usual tracking methods attached to it.
Ok.. I get it. I get the objective -- let's take this company that seems a little monolithic, big guy crushes little guy, and inject a little human emotion, a little goodwill, a little, "hey, we're here with you on this cold street with you, and we sorta care."
But you are a big company -- a really big company. And when it comes to doing good (like superman), use that size to your advantage to actually make a real and measurable difference in the world and don't commit dollars that you could use to not raise my drink another 9 cents just to blow on some feel good campaign.
How about each region/city picking a charity, or a specific village in Africa, and saying, "we're going to commit to at least this much cash to supply clean drinking water/AIDS medicine (or whatever -- the world isn't short on maladies) -- and on Dec 23rd, if you order a coffee, we'll take 100% of that money and use it to help someone out, because we're big and we'd hope that if everyone was this big, they'd do something real about making the world a little better. " Then when the customer orders their coffee, give them a pass that logs them onto a site where they can track the progress of the project -- to keep Starbucks in check -- oh and while they're on the site, they can see how their region/city is doing compared to others and they can also see related charities in the country's region that they can give additional support to. Starbucks could send out info and photos to the baristas about the progress of the project and they can relate back to interested customers.
I know shopping for charity gets lambasted, but its about putting the opportunity in front of people. I'd like to do more, but I'm running around putting out fires, and I forget. I shouldn't, but I do. But when I'm stuck in the airport for 12 hours and there's a GAP right there that I have to walk in front of just to see the departure's screen, I get bored, walk in, see the tag on the shirt, buy a few and give them out to friends. There's a Starbucks on every corner, and I was born in the city, Houston, where there are actually Starbucks on opposing corners. That's a lot of opportunities for them to use their size to do more.
You may be asking yourself, "What is this rant doing here?" -- Well, I'm getting frustrated by all of the feaux-social campaigns out there and when I get frustrated I write. Let me know what you think? Good? Bad? Indifferent?