Starbucks and M.C. Yogi Offer You a Free Cuppa Joe — If You Volunteer

Backed with the catchy music of M.C. Yogi, Starbucks today kicks off its latest campaign honoring the Obama administration's call to national service — and offers a free cup of coffee to anybody willing to pledge five hours of volunteer time. Following up on the smashing success of the company's free-coffee-for-anyone-who-votes campaign, this latest initiative is part of Starbucks' own rehabilitation strategy of linking its brand to various causes, says a spokesman for BBDO, the coffee shops' agency.

Starbucks PledgeM.C. Yogi was an inspired choice as the soundtrack for this spot. The young yoga master/hip hop artist is best known for his campaign anthem "Vote for Hope" which sampled then-candidate Barack Obama's riveting speech at the 2004 Democratic convention.

But his route to Starbucks fame came via a more circuitous route. BBDO creative director David Carter happened to be at a yoga class in upstate New York when the yoga teacher played an M.C. Yogi song. He was instantly intrigued, he told me over a latte in a midtown Starbucks (of course) near the company's Manhattan headquarters. The company's creatives tracked down Yogi and asked him to compose a song specifically for this spot.

Oprah will debut the spot today on her show. You can hear the tune for yourself on YouTube (or catch it on CNN, MSNBC, and online), and download it — for free — on the Starbucks site.

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  • Irene Turner

    I love this guy MCYogi...and have been researching what else he is up to. I will be blogging about him and his political/spiritually conscious rap and how he uses his gift for positive change! good for him!

  • Joyce Gaines

    This is a great idea. Everyone should pitch in and do some charitable work for others. I find helping others takes you out of your troubles.

  • Karen Bantuveris

    Kudos to Starbucks for setting the bar where we can all reach it! Forget about the free coffee - committing to 5 hours is the least we can all do to help during this economic crisis that is critically stretching our community nonprofits. For those wanting to organize their own ongoing service projects at work, school, or in the community, consider - a simple, free scheduling and planning tool that makes volunteer coordination hassle-free.