Even people who yell at town halls like Starbucks?

A new Starbucks ad attempts to appeal to everyone -- even town hall protesters

Published September 30, 2009 1:31PM (EDT)

As further proof that Americans can find a way to profit off of anything, a new Starbucks ad attempts to sell coffee by lampooning the contentious healthcare reform town halls that garnered national attention all summer.

The ad (a teaser is below, while the full version can be watched here) is for Starbucks' new instant coffee Via. It shows a series of groups of people who can't tell the difference between Starbucks' regular coffee and the new version. The ad is attempting to say that all sorts of people, from nurses to Civil War reenactors to people with "yellow belts" will find Via as satisfying as regular Starbucks. The ad then concludes with a man standing up at a town hall meeting and yelling, "I can't taste the difference."

So is Starbucks attempting to exploit America's political divisions for its own benefit? Or is the ad a savvy way to portray Starbucks coffee as a product that appeals to everyone? And will conservatives hate Starbucks and all its East Coast, Ivy-League educated, latte-sipping elite customers even more now? (And are they right to do so, since the place burns its coffee, which is overpriced anyway?) Tell us what you think.

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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