Business Administration Education Guide

Friday, May 11, 2007

Living Room Discussions Encouraged Through Starbucks Coffee Cups

There are just as many jokes about Starbucks as there is Microsoft. Both companies are international successes, have aggressively pursued it’s industries, been called Darth Vader of the economical world, both have they’re Feel Good Charity departments and both have caused their fair share of controversy.

But I believe Starbucks has now outdone MS with its newest controversy issue of thought-provoking messages on coffee cups.

Despite anti god complaints, coffeehouse goliath Starbucks is standing by its campaign to put thought-provoking messages on its coffee cups and insists that the messages are not anti or pro anything, they are simply statements to get a person thinking.

The controversy exploded after a customer became steamed after reading a quote on the coffee cup that asked:

"Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure."

The quote was written by Bill Schell, a Starbucks customer from London, Ontario, Canada, and was included as part of Starbucks' "The Way I See It" campaign to collect different viewpoints and spur discussion.

…and discussion or better yet debates it has spurred. The “discussion” has become so hot that it’s become the chosen favor for national radio show subjects for Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham.

Former Starbucks customer and cup reader Ken Peck of Lakeland, Fla., bought a thought-provoking cup that he felt criticizes his Christian faith here is his photograph of the cup.



It reads:
The Way I See It #230 “Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring. Clouds, listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can’t wait to go, like a luxury hotel. Maybe blue skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17th century, but Heaven has to step it up a bit. They're basically getting by because they only have to be better than Hell.”
- Joel Stein, columnist for the Los Angeles Times.


The coffee cup dialogue offended Peck so much that he has now started a boycott of Starbucks in favor of other local coffeehouses in Polk Co., Fla. In his opinion, he has said

"There's absolutely no reason to put that out on a cup," Peck told World Net Daily. "From a marketing standpoint, it blows me away. I don't put a picture of Christ of my business card."

Meanwhile Seattle-based Starbucks has not and it looks as if they will not be making any apologies any time soon for they’re God-related messages, nor its campaign.

"We are committed to this program," Starbucks communications manager Tricia Moriarty told World Net Daily. She said that the quotes regarding matters of faith make up only a small fraction of the printed messages.

"We cover topics such as theater, film, the environment, food and sports," Moriarty said. "The cups are not pro- or anti-religion per se," said Moriarty.

Ani God or Pro God?

The Way I See It #92:

"You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. Focusing on yourself will never reveal your purpose. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny." -- Dr. Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose-Driven Life.

The Starbucks' "The Way I See It" campaign website site: "Please note: The opinions put forth by contributors to “The Way I See It” do not necessarily reflect the views of Starbucks."

The thought-provoking messages were meant to spark conversation and it has done just that. Starbucks never said you have to agree with the messages, it was a marketing ploy to get customers to buy new cups to see what the next cup would say and to get customers talking. Oh it, definitely is doing that.


Starbucks touts itself as the Living Room café where friends and family get together. What do people do in their living rooms? They talk and that is exactly what Starbucks has accomplished with they’re message cups.

The funny thing is that I hadn’t even noticed the new thought-provoking messages on my Starbuck cups, until I discovered this bit of news. I pulled my cup out of my wastebasket and read the message.

The Way I See It #196

The greatest leader is a servant. Don’t be a boss. Be a leader, a servant leader. A servant leader is a winner. Even when he loses everything, even when he loses his life, a servant leader wins it all.” -- Pat Williams Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic


Hmmmm I’ll have to think more on what he means.

Hey it worked!



Stop smoking with an E

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