Starbucks is taking a go at digital content with their first series, “Upstanders,” which features key podcasts, videos, and written stories.
Online content creation has seen an increasing amount of users and creators over the past few years. With the emergence of YouTube stars and hit podcasts, it seems that anyone with a fresh idea and a bit of creativity can leave their mark. From personal stories to scripted sketches, digital media has shaped the way audiences consume entertainment, as it no longer falls entirely on television or movies. Starbucks recently announced that it is releasing a new series called “Upstanders,” which will focus on stories from different positive community experiences. Each episode will highlight an encouraging and affirmative inspirationally story involving a social or personal issue relevant to today’s society.
Starbucks’ 10 episode series draws on topics from an impoverished town that is offering free college tuition for student to a business owner who helps and employs workers with autism. Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schiltz said “The upstanders featured in this series are inspiring individuals whose actions are emblematic of the American spirit and what is missing from so much of today’s national dialogue. We have always been storytellers at heart, and more of these stories need to be heard. We are using our scale to share them as broadly as possible.” It seems that more than ever, we can use inspiring stories to encourage progressive change and outlooks on the world.
“Upstanders,” is said to trace back to a town hall meeting in which Schiltz inspired the idea to create an alternative to the term bystander. Often times, people will sit back while others struggle to just watch them, instead of helping out. And, as you might be thinking, this free series isn’t a way for Starbucks to push its already powerful branding on audiences. Starbucks executive producer, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who produced and wrote this series with Schiltz said “This is storytelling in the public interest, but brought to you by a Fortune 500 company.”
This genuine feeling to help and focus attention on modern day issues, rather than sales, is a step in the right direction for big name companies, such as Starbucks, with a lot of power and a wide spread audience. Chandrasekaran also states “When we turn on the news or scroll through our social media feeds, we are inundated with stories of discord and dysfunction. But there is more to America than that. In cities and towns across the country, there are people who are courageously, selflessly, collaboratively, and thoughtfully creating positive change.” But this isn’t exactly the first time Starbucks has tried to invoke a positive change in the community. In 2015, baristas were encouraged to write “race together” on customer’s cups when ordering, as a way to promote and support racial equality. However, this campaign didn’t last very long, as many customers complained about Starbuck’s unnecessary tie to racial and social issues.
“Upstanders” is comprised of 10 different episodes, which can be found in various forms on Starbucks’ website, the Starbucks app, or where podcasts are found.