Starbucks Red

December 1, 2008

Here’s my $0.02 on Starbucks Red, a new Starbucks program that will generate awareness of HIV/AIDS and monetary contributions to the Global Fund for AIDS in Africa.  It’s a great idea, but I think they could have done even more.

Only three beverages in the store will generate contributions to the charity: espresso truffle, gingerbread latte, and peppermint mocha twist.  These beverages cost approximately between $4 and $5 depending on size and speciifc beverage ordered, and the amount of the charity contribution is only 5 cents.  While that may add up over time, it is a relatively trivial amount for most people that buy premium handcrafted beverages at Starbucks.

Here are my recommendations to Starbucks:

  1. Stop using the Red Campaign for a primarily profit-seeking and business motive.  Starbucks has been impacted by the slowing economy just as other businesses have, and undoubtedly its executives are thinking of ways to extract more revenue and profit out of customers.  People should be interested in this campaign becuase of the good work it seeks to do in other parts of the world and for its societal benefits, not becuase they think the beverages taste good.
  2. Extend the 5 cent contribution to all beverages in the store, not just the selected premium beverages.
  3. Offer a mechanism in the store and online where customers can make an additional contribution to the fund, using their own money.
  4. Consider making the Red program a permanent addition at Starbucks, not just a time-limited program to take advantage of people’s slightly more charitable tendencies during the holiday months.  If Starbucks created a mechanism tied to each user’s Starbucks Card that made people aware of how much they themselves have contributed to Red ( or perhaps an alternative charity for those individuals who are religiously or socially opposed to making contributions that support HIV/AIDS work ), they might be driven to become regular customers who would enjoy being reminded of how an everyday activity such as drinking coffee can have benefits that far transcend helping with one’s sense of being awake during the day.
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One Response to “Starbucks Red”


  1. […] Tags: Africa, AIDS, charity, contribution, HIV, product red, Starbucks I recently wrote about the Starbucks Red program that took place during the 2008 Holiday season, and I’m delighted to see that Starbucks is […]


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