Get out the Vote and Grab a Tall Starbucks Coffee for Free!

By Linsey Knerl on 2 November 2008 (Updated 18 August 2011) 19 comments
Photo: Rudolf Schuba

Voting anxiety is kickin' in big time. With only a couple days left until the final vote, many are more than ready to make their voices heard – and then head back to life as normal. In an effort to reward those who vote on Nov. 4, Starbucks is pouring free coffee.

Their ad (airing on YouTube and at their website) makes it clear. Come in on Nov. 4th, say, “I voted,” and grab your tall coffee, no money required. It's a simple gimmick to get people to vote. I think there's a bit more to it than that, however.

It's been three long months of listening to my closest friends, clients, and family Twitter and email non-stop about how important my vote is (as long as it's for their choice of candidate). I'm ready for the vote to take place, and our new Pres to emerge (however disappointed I may possibly be at the results.) This means perhaps we can start getting back to a time when I was less a Party member and more a gal you used to have coffee with.

Starbucks is facilitating a step in the right direction. Free coffee just might get everyone sitting down together, regardless of affiliation. The marketing guys have also figured that a few of us may also buy an over-priced (but delicious) scone, and out of our gratitude for free coffee, we may leave a killer tip.

As with most free promotions, this is about money. Thankfully, it may turn out to be about something more. This promotion runs all day on Nov. 4, at participating Starbucks locations. Get out your vote, pull up a chair next to that voter on the other side of the partisan aisle, and drink one for free.

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Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

It seems that getting a freebie based on having the "I Voted" sticker is illegal under California law.

According to LAist:

http://laist.com/2008/11/02/freebies_with_i_voted_sticker_again.php

So it's all on the honor system! By the way, LAist mentions that Krispy Kreme is giving away free donuts to voters.

Happy voting everyone!

Linsey Knerl's picture

I wondered why they didn't mention the sticker.  The ad claims that you only have to say that you voted to get the coffee.  I wish we had a Krispy Kreme near me!!

Linsey

Guest's picture
Rachel

what a clever marketing ploy! I wonder how many other places are giving away freebies.

Guest's picture

Australia always gets a huge voter turnout because voting is compulsory. Registering to vote is optional, but once you have registered, turning up to have your name ticked off is mandatory.

So go for it, Americans. If you don't like the result & you didn't vote, then you have no right to complain later.

And believe me, because the USA has such an influence in the world, the rest of us are waiting for the result too!

Guest's picture
Kate

I think that a lot of these companies are putting out the "Vote or die" message because they support a particular candidate and want their customer base to vote for them (by using subtle imagery and nuances). I.E.: MTV's rock the vote (and the numerous and high profile appearance of Clinton).

Paul Michael's picture

I don't have a vote. Am I the subject of discrimination? By the way, I do pay taxes...and I can be drafted as well!

Guest's picture
Amy

I wish I had tomorrow off so I could get my voting done and take advantage of all the freebies!

Guest's picture
lucille

They never give out those nifty "I voted" stickers where I live.

I always thought something like a free beer for voting might get a few more people motivated.

Julie Rains's picture

Free coffee and doughnut -- thanks for telling us about the promotion, and I looked up Krispy Kreme's promotion and they are giving away doughnuts at participating stores. I haven't voted yet (though over 1/3in my area have) so I guess I can get free stuff!

Linsey Knerl's picture

Just heard Ben and Jerry's are doing it too!

http://www.benandjerrys.com/features/i_voted/

Guest's picture

Kenneth Cole has a 44% off coupon in honor of the 44th president, too!

http://renaissancetrophywife.wordpress.com/2008/11/03/rock-the-vote/

Guest's picture
Dave Burda

"Free coffee just might get everyone sitting down together, regardless of affiliation."

I don't know what's scarier: Your statement, or Al Qaeda.

Linsey Knerl's picture

You obviously have no clue what a charming coffee date I can be.  Strangely enough, I have family on both sides of the political fence, and it gets a bit heated during get togethers.  If I can get any one of them to sit down for a cup o' joe, however, you'd be amazed at how civil the conversation can get.  I guess where I'm from, coffee is like the afterwork beer. 

And yes, a woman with the ability to schmooze even the most fanatical political activist via liquid caffeine is a person to be feared.  Watch out!  :)

Linsey

Guest's picture
M. Wong

As a straight girl, I've got to say I am disappointed and disturbed that Wise Bread is running Yes on Prop 8 Ads, especially next to a "Hey, Go Vote" story.

The Mormon church is financing Prop 8. Should a religious group really be trying to influence the private lives of citizens through the ballot box?

Prop 8 spokesman Brad Dascus went so far last week as to compare gay marriage to Hitler. He also claimed that gay people are trying to recruit our children. Why is Wise Bread supporting this type of ignorance, hate and intolerance?

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2008/10/30/proposition-8-advocate-...

Regardless of what a person's views are about marriage, Prop 8 = discrimination. Please don't support laws that are unfair and wrong.

Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

@M.Wong -- Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that we're living in a new world where publications depend on a lot of 3rd party content -- from comments, links, and yes, even ads -- and online publishers (like Wise Bread) need to get a better handle on the content on their sites.

Unfortunately, lots of online publishers are having the same problems with conflicting political ads. Here is Techcrunch's rant at Google:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/11/03/google-may-hate-prop-8-but-that-doe...

Hopefully for the next election cycle, we'll have a better handle on the ads on this site.

I, for one, am ready for the election to be over with so we can stop seeing all the political ads and get back to pitching Angie's List.

For the record, Wise Bread is about personal finance and frugal living. We strongly strongly believe you should save money.... and we strongly believe you should go vote too. But who or what you vote for, that's your decision. :)

Lynn Truong's picture

We tried to remove the ad from our Adsense account but it either hasn't updated or it's not working. We try to watch out for any political ads running on our site but this was something we couldn't remove, either because of Google's slow response or the advertiser hiding URL.

Guest's picture
M. Wong

I appreciate your speedy response about the super creepy Yes on Prop 8 ads. I hope you can remove those ads from Wise Bread asap. It's a blight on an otherwise positive and inspirational site.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks, Starbucks. Great to know you're encouraging me to put my decision to vote or not up for sale. And that it's OK if I lie to you if I don't vote.

Guest's picture

I think it's great that starbucks is giving away free coffee. I am about 3 blocks away from the original one, here in Seattle. However, It is hard to believe that anyone not planning on voting, was actually convinced to vote because of a a free cup of java.