Starbucks ends “Race Together” campaign

Starbucks ends “Race Together” campaign

The employees at Starbucks baristas will not write “Race Together” on customer’s cups after the company received widespread criticism for its campaign. Within a week of announcing the initiative, the coffee chain spokesman Jim Olsen said that it will continue with the campaign in a broader sense but the handwritten messages on the cup will not be there starting Sunday.

Starbucks will continue with its special sections in USA Today and will continue with its Race Together initiative. According to a company memo sent by CEO Howard Schultz, the cups were ‘just the catalyst’ for a larger conversation. Starbucks still aims to start a healthy debate about diversity in the country.

The campaign was criticized for its timing and many people called it an opportunistic and inappropriate campaign. Last week company CEO Schultz asked the employees in a video message to write “Race Together” on a cup and if a customer asks about it, the employee should engage him in a discussion.

Starbucks spokesman Olson said, "Nothing is changing. It's all part of the cadence of the timeline we originally planned."

The memo sent by CEO Schultz said, "While there has been criticism of the initiative -- and I know this hasn't been easy for any of you -- let me assure you that we didn't expect universal praise. And let me reassure you that our conviction and commitment to the notion of equality and opportunity for all has never been stronger."

Regarding the campaign, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker said, “Schultz isn’t new to corporate activism. But this time he seems aggressively out of touch with his target audience. Nobody wants to be lectured before coffee.”