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Integrated Cause Marketing with Starbucks and MSNBC

Long-time readers know I’m a sap when it comes to integrated cause marketing campaigns that are activated across multiple media because I believe they’re more effective and because… having done of few of these campaigns myself… I know how much hard work they are.

Here’s how this one works: When you buy a package of Starbucks branded Morning Joe coffee, “Starbucks with MSNBC will donate to the project of your choice.” You redeem it online at using the code from the package of Morning Joe coffee.

The ‘with MSNBC’ line, I suspect, means that MSNBC is donating airtime to the promotion rather than cash.

Morning Joe is the name of the MSNBC morning talk show hosted by former member of (U.S) Congress from Florida, Joe Scarborough, along ‘with’ Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist.

Starbucks has been a sponsor... of one flavor or another… of Morning Joe since June 2009, drawing scrutiny and criticism from media watchdogs and others. The Starbucks logo is embedded into the Morning Joe set and graphics.

Previously bags of Starbucks’ Morning Joe coffee were available exclusively at Target and Starbucks locations. With this promotion Morning Joe coffee is available at grocers nationwide. (One wonders how the end of Target’s exclusivity agreement played out.)

I’ve already tipped my hand about my admiration for this campaign. But I think it could be improved. Scarborough is a Republican who prides himself as a moderate. Back in August 2011, the billionaire CEO of Starbucks, Howard Shultz, pledge to stop making campaign donations to incumbent politicians until and unless there was a plan from Congress to control the nation’s debt.

By September 2011 Shultz had induced a 100 other CEOs to sign his pledge and they took out a full-page ad in the New York Times declaring their intentions:
“First, to withhold political campaign contributions until a transparent, comprehensive, bipartisan debt-and-deficit package is reached that honestly, and fairly, sets America on a path to long-term financial health and security. Second, to do all we can to break the cycle of economic uncertainty that grips our country by committing to accelerate investment in jobs and hiring.”
In other words, Shultz is a moderate of some stripe, too.

And he hit a chord. Although anyone who knows American history can recall times when the political class was more divisive, it’s no picnic right now. And facing a host of problems at home and abroad, Americans are tired of the discord.

Imagine, then, a segment on Morning Joe (the show) wherein every time politicians or pundits from opposite sides of an issue publicly agreed with each other in some substantive way that some moderator from the show would deposit $100 of Starbucks’ money into a jar for It would be like the office ‘swear jar’ only in reverse.

And instead of pressing politicians and pundits to always beat each other up... which can, of course, be wonderfully entertaining... Morning Joe’s hosts would press for the occasional accord. It would be a win-win.

Scarborough could end the show tallying up the money and saying something like how smooth Starbucks goes down.

I think it's the best idea I've had this morning!


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