For a long time now, unpleasant issues have been surrounding the United States, the on-going campaign #BlackLivesMatter after several shootings initiated by police officers which led to loss of death of many African-American lives, as well as the racially discriminating comments made by certain political figures through-out the period of their campaign, are some of the things that have shown America in a negative light.
Due to the same reason, the international coffee conglomerate, Starbucks, has decided to expand their horizons on to “content creation” and produce virtual content, including text, images and video. This web series by Starbucks is going to focus on everything good that is happening around America, without taking a political stance. The web series named Upstanders, is going to be launched on the company’s mobile phone application and will also be played in the stores. Schultz believes that since the app accounts for 25% of Starbuck’s transactions, it should be a good source to gather viewership and spread positivity especially after “the hate that’s gone back-and-forth in this political season.”
Starbucks hopes to create original content with a quality which would level that of New York Times and Washington Post. One example of the kind of content they would be creating, with the intentions of tackling social issues, is a podcast and a video featuring a former NFL player who has been helping disabled veterans.
Although Howard claims that there is no profitable return expected from this initiative he has put forth his perspective saying that, with the changing “rules of engagement” business also have to change the way they continue their business related activities. He emphasised on the topic of giving back to the community and letting the audience know about the work you do. Starbucks had received much criticism for writing “Race Together” during the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, as they were accused of taking advantage of the situation. Hopefully, the same does not happen with their upcoming web series.
The public affairs executive, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who is also a former correspondent at Washington Post, that he applied the reporting standards from his previous work to this new initiative by Starbucks.
Although, the company claims to be takin no political stand while producing Upstanders, CEO Howard Schultz has made his support for Hillary Clinton rather clear by saying during his interview with CNNMoney that “I’m hopeful that after the election—and hopefully Hillary Clinton will be elected president—that we will begin to see a level of unity and people coming together” during his interview with CNNMoney. In his interview on Wednesday Howard Schultz said “I think we are all rightfully concerned about the promise of the country and the America dream,”