SNL Spoofs Starbucks' Racetogether Campaign

Posted on March 29, 2015

Saturday Night Live took aim at Starbucks' ill-fated #racetogether initiative, in which the company asked the baristas to star conversations about race with their customers and write #racetogether on people's cups. The idea of baristas trying to engage harried customers in a meaningful dialogue about race relations spawned a huge backlash against Starbucks.

The response was so negative that Starbucks pulled the campaign after 6 days, then claiming it was only going to run for that long -- which is ridiculous. Saturday Night Live produced a hilarious faux commercial for Pep Boys in which the company announced that they were taking a page from the Starbucks playbook and institution #genderflect. The campaign urged car mechanics and auto parts sales people to start conversations with customers about gender and identity.

The results are about as disastrous as you might think, as the Pep Boys employees seem to mean well, but end up either boring or horrifying their customers who just want to know when their cars will be ready. This parody really drives the point home that corporations which attempt to use complex social issues as marketing tools are courting disaster. Take a look:

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