Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Predatory CSR? Or do I just need more coffee?

Just a short post today. Read it during your coffee break.

I was on my way to work this morning, and decided I needed more coffee. So I got off the bus two stops early to go to Bridgehead, my favourite ethical coffee chain.

But before I arrived there, a young woman was in my face offering "FREE STARBUCKS COFFEE!":

Not only was the coffee free, but it was offered as a corporate social responsibility outreach to garner donations to the Children's Wish Foundation, a truly heart-rending charity that grants dying children's last wishes.

Nothing wrong with that, eh? Except for the location: smack between Bridgehead and Second Cup, Starbuck's major Canadian competitor (besides Timmies, that is!):

Am I just way too cynical this morning, or is Starbucks the cynical one? Because to me, this looked like run-of-the-mill predatory marketing hiding behind a worthy cause.

Hey! I'd probably do something like this for one of my clients, too, but it still elicited a comment from the guy serving my coffee at Bridgehead. "We do it every day, but whatever", he said, referring to Bridgehead's well-known commitment to environmentalism, sustainable third world economic development, and fair trade.

Maybe I'm just overthinking this, as someone who knows what goes on in the boardrooms. After all, the booth was located on a busy downtown corner on the westbound Transitway. (Although it could have easily located on the busy eastbound, a block north.)

Oh well. I hope the wish people raised good money for a great cause, despite the rain.


  1. Cynic.

    (from jake)

  2. Cynical but brilliant move by Starbucks. :-)

    (from the lawyer, of course)

  3. You did the right thing - going to Bridgehead. Real commitment isn't showy.

  4. We love Brideghead. We love Bridgehead.
    We love Bridgehead. We love Bridgehead.
    We love Bridgehead. We love Bridgehead.
    We love Bridgehead. We love Bridgehead.

    (Except when I go to *bucks for a Frappaccino then I feel dirty.)