Brands that inject themselves into political debates are taking a considerable risk. Just ask the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Chick-fil-A, or Papa John’s
That’s not stopping Starbucks and its CEO, Howard Schultz, from making themselves part of the story of the ongoing shutdown of the U.S. government, however. Late last week, the company launched what it calls the Come Together Petition
, which people can sign via its website or Facebook
. More than 187,000 people have signed the petition via Facebook.
Here’s the text of the petition:
To our leaders in Washington, D.C., now’s the time
to come together to:
1. Reopen our government to serve the people.
2. Pay our debts on time to avoid another financial crisis.
3. Pass a bipartisan and comprehensive long-term budget deal by the end of the year.
That’s not a terribly controversial position. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll
found that 60 percent of respondents want to fire every member of Congress and start all over. That’s how fed up most people are with Washington gridlock.
Still, Starbucks doesn’t seem to be afraid to take a stand that stirs controversy. Last month, Schultz asked customers not to bring guns into the company’s stores
anymore, raising the ire of some who had used Starbucks as a rallying place for open-carry campaigns.
The comments on the Facebook post for the Come Together Petition are considerably more benign than the ones posted in response to the request to keep guns out, but there are a number of curious comments about Starbucks’ purported refusal to provide free coffee for U.S. troops.
That’s the price of politics.
[RELATED: Ragan's new distance-learning site houses the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.]
A few companies are finding ways to enter the political fray with a little more humor, though. For example, mobile advertising firm Revolution Messaging has developed a microsite that enables users to drunk-dial random members of Congress
. The site even has drink recipes.