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January 2, 2010 3:54 AM   Subscribe

All you need is love - from 156 countries, all at the same time. Join in the chorus; each video leads to a 5-cent donation from Starbucks to the RED Global Fund for AIDS in Africa.
posted by divabat (44 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
All you need is latte!

Of course, raising money for the fight against AIDS in Africa is a good thing, one imagines. Not so sure if the Product Red thing is the best way, but, well, everyone should look into it as well as they can, and decide for themselves. The Wiki page on Product Red, includes a "Criticism" chapter, which anyone interested in all this might want to read as a starter.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:58 AM on January 2, 2010


Maybe it makes me a bad person who hates babies, but I find this type of charity/promotion really offputting. If Starbucks simply announced (with huge fanfare and posters in all the shops, of course) that it was donating $X million, I'd be really impressed and grateful.

But there's something really icky about saying "I'll give money for this important cause, but only if each of you does a little dancing monkey routine in a way that is designed to support our branding." It shifts the focus from the charity to the branding, and that's beyond tacky.

tl;dr: important cause, tacky method.
posted by Forktine at 6:12 AM on January 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


I saw John Lennon in a cup of coffee but it tasted more like Paul McCartney.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:50 AM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rather than use this post a chance to complain about Starbucks or the Product Red campaign can't we instead use this as an opportunity to finally and at long last make fun of the lyrics to "All You Need Is Love" ?

there's nothing you can do that can't be done
there's nothing you can sing that can't be sung


Really? No shit so if I can do something that thing can be done? Wow, really fucking deep Lennon I guess you are a genius.
posted by Bonzai at 7:21 AM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, come on. Lennon understood perfectly the most important thing about pop music: all you need is a hook.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:28 AM on January 2, 2010


I am such a big sap for crap like this. Don't get me started on "Do They Know It's Christmas?" or "We Are the World" or I'll be crying until next Thursday.

*sniffles*

SAPS ARE ALL YOU NEED.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:41 AM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


...really fucking deep Lennon I guess you are a genius.

Actually, it does take a certain kind of genius to write a pop song that people can sing along to that continually alternates between 7/4 and 4/4.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:41 AM on January 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


I love this because it fits with the history of "All You Need is Love" - it was written to be UK's entry into the first program ever broadcast live globally via satellite.

Anyway, it is an enjoyable video. Thanks.
posted by alaijmw at 8:09 AM on January 2, 2010


But there's something really icky about saying "I'll give money for this important cause, but only if each of you does a little dancing monkey routine in a way that is designed to support our branding." It shifts the focus from the charity to the branding, and that's beyond tacky.

A couple of thoughts:

I'll agree that this is great marketing for Starbucks - if it works out, they have to donate money, but their brand gets coverage worldwide for a long period of time. If it doesn't work out (i.e. no one sends in a video), they have to donate less.

I looked at a few videos, and I saw a few that didn't have Starbucks products in the background, so I don't think you have to "support" the brand - just send in a video.

If SB donated a ton of cash, they would market it, sure, but how long could that marketing last? 1 month? 2 months max? This way, the marketing lasts a longer time without becoming stale. Some videos can potentially become viral too.

This extended period of time is good for public awareness too - if I see an ad at SB for 1 or 2 months, maybe I will think about it for 1 or 2 months and then think about something else once these ads are pulled. With a campaign like this lasting as long as it has, I might think about the issues for an equal amount of time.

But most importantly, to me at least, there is something so much more powerful seeing a real human making a contribution. The first video I watched was a young woman from the US, singing with the song in the background. She didn't have the greatest voice, but here she was with her contribution - she cared enough to set up a camera, record herself singing, and upload it for the world to see. And thinking about this brought tears to my eyes - sometimes I feel that I am the only person in the world who cares about people in developing countries, while I watch others caring only for their material possessions and complaining that their luxuries aren't luxurious enough - but here I saw a stranger from who knows where, who actually cares just as much as me (ack, who am I kidding, she probably cares even more) taking action, and seeing this and realizing this gives me a bit more hope in humanity.


posted by bitteroldman at 8:16 AM on January 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed the video. I do wonder about the effect: at 5 cents per video, and a maximum of 1 million submissions, the total possible donation would be $50,000. It's more than I've done myself (and maybe a little goes a long way in developing nations, and I'm assuming it's net), but it does seem low.
posted by anshuman at 9:02 AM on January 2, 2010


All you need is hope.

[Robert Indiana's "love" sculpture updated to "hope"]
posted by marimeko at 9:06 AM on January 2, 2010


But most importantly, to me at least, there is something so much more powerful seeing a real human making a contribution.

That contribution is 5 cents to charity (and going to a middle-man charity at that) and a much, much larger value in terms of free advertising support for Starbucks. If you genuinely give a shit about AIDS in Africa (which is a large place, and AIDS/HIV issues vary dramatically across the continent, so being a little more specific wouldn't hurt), then maybe giving more than 5 cents would be a nice start, no?

This is the worst combination of feel-goodism and corporate cynicism that I've seen this week.
posted by Forktine at 9:08 AM on January 2, 2010


Perhaps I'll make a video of me sending $5 to UNAIDS.
posted by boo_radley at 9:11 AM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


can't we instead use this as an opportunity to finally and at long last make fun of the lyrics to "All You Need Is Love" ?

I always saw the reflexive property in the lyrics as underscoring the ground-level "well, duh" message of the lyrics. What is the buddhist thing, that every time you realize a truth you end up laughing because of how basic and simple and straightforward that it is, and you wonder why you never realized it before?

All the lyrics in this song contain this kind of truth.

There truly IS nothing you can do which can't be done. So get out there and do things!
There IS nothing you can sing that can't be sung, so why aren't you singing all the time?

and ultimately, ALL you need is love. That's it. If you have love, and are expressing it to the full, then that truly is all you need. Everything else will follow from there.

/hippie rant
posted by hippybear at 9:43 AM on January 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


Forktine, I think if you look at just the monetary value, you're right, it's a great marketing plan/ploy for Starbucks (5 cents x 1 million entries maximum) = $50,000 which isn't even a drop in the bucket for what is needed.

But I think the greater good here is that it manages to succesfully connect the entire world with a single purpose. You can't help but feel hope when you see children from the Marshall Islands, a musical group in Afghanistan, a seniors group in Canada, etc. singing the same song, with the same desire in their eyes, for improved healthcare in developing countries (granted, I did feel a bit weird watching the Somalia entry, considering the hell-on-earth situation that continues to progress in Darfur).

I'm not naive that a bunch of people singing is going to soften the hearts of politicians, CEOs and the like, but if it raises and maintains awareness in people in general, I think that's a good thing. And it gets people involved.

If if it's good marketing for SB, then so be it. It doesn't invalidate the good that comes out of it. Other companies will take note and implement similar strategies and more money will be generated.

I mean, do you think all these companies with "green" strategies actually give a rats ass about the environment? No, but becoming green is great for PR - the intention might not be as pure and "honorable" as they want us to believe, but if it leads to a better planet, fine by me.
posted by bitteroldman at 9:57 AM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once saw this box in Starbucks with two coffee mugs, intended as a Christmas gift. On the box it said that if you buy these mugs, Starbucks would donate $5 to charity. Right next to it was a box with the same coffee mugs, but without the $5 donation offer. It was $5 cheaper.

So if you buy the $5 more expensive box, you are giving $5 to Starbucks so they can give your money to charity and take a tax donation themselves.

There are better ways.
posted by eye of newt at 10:21 AM on January 2, 2010


I dibs Norway.
posted by Mike D at 11:19 AM on January 2, 2010


I think, Bonzai, that John Lennon had proven himself and his songwriting by the time that song came out. On that album alone he'd also written I Am The Walrus, which contains some brilliant lyrics (by which I mean line-by-line it's profoundly catchy while being completely meaningless), and Strawberry Fields Forever, the lyrics of which changed a lot of attitudes about pop writing even further. He also wrote In My Life, the song that arguably marked definitively the Beatles' change to something more mature.

All You Need Is Love is supposed to be an anthem. It's something simple you can sing in large groups that says its message succinctly. Should we also make fun of how the background vocals are just saying "Love, Love, Love" over and over again? Imply snidely that Lennon was "really fucking deep" for repeating a word over and over again? Should we further ignore the many, many hints that the song is tongue-in-cheek, like the fact that it opens with La Marseillaise, closes with snippets of Greensleeves, Bach, and earlier Beatles songs?

Yeah, man. John Lennon was such a fucking idiot pop song writer who had no sense of humor. We on MeFi are deep enough to understand this.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:27 AM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just because the man wrote some great music doesn't mean everything he wrote was great. I contend that AYNIL was a stinker. I mean, yes, he did write I Am The Walrus and Strawberry Fields and In My Life but he also wrote Revolution #9.

All you need is love unless you have no food then you need love and food.

Also, you need water and shelter.
posted by Bonzai at 12:27 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It only takes a few Mefites a day to put John Lennon in his place. Won't you call now?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:45 PM on January 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


HOLY SHIT FIVE CENTS
posted by parhamr at 1:09 PM on January 2, 2010


There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time


I see a lot of meaning in these lyrics - the only time they sounded stupid to me was probably in my teens, when I thought everything sounded stupid, but I grew out of that. Of course, they seem pretty silly at first, but aside from the anthemic/hypnotic quality of the repetitive sentence structure, which is so effective, what I hear expressed in Lennon's lyrics is a recommendation that people give up striving for a self-aggrandizing individuality, quit trying to see themselves as world-historical individuals who are going to set out alone to lead a revolution or remake the world. Our actions are always going to be circumscribed by what's possible - you can do great things, but you can't really do anything new or anything impossible. You are not God, you aren't all-powerful. Anything you can do is, by definition, do-able by a human being. So what is really your greatest power? Love, which is a guide to right action, a guide to choosing what things to do and make and sing, what people to save. Don't do it because those acts are special, unique, and will bring you fame - do it because they're acts of love.

My 2-cent gloss.
posted by Miko at 4:55 PM on January 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


All you need is love unless you have no food then you need love and food.

What force would impel someone with food to share their food?
posted by Miko at 4:56 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


What force would impel someone with food to share their food?

Fear has been the standard, at least since the invention of agriculture and taxation.
posted by Forktine at 5:29 PM on January 2, 2010


Setting aside all the snark, I enjoy seeing people from all over the world just trying to do something together to help others.

Personally, though my wife and I have sponsored a number of African orphans (parents died of AIDS) through World Vision to give the kids a hope that they can grow to adulthood healthy and educated, and avoid contracting AIDS themselves.

To me that's better than 5 cents a cup.
posted by bwg at 5:51 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fear has been the standard, at least since the invention of agriculture and taxation.

Right, I should have said "what forces." Love is certainly another, and has been since the invention of families and other voluntary communities.
posted by Miko at 6:27 PM on January 2, 2010


Contains Starbucks. Buried.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:41 PM on January 2, 2010


Previously. Here's how leveraging music for progress can be accomplished; and without providing millions of dollars worth of free advertising for multi-national sugar-pushing global conglomerates like Starbucks or Coke.

I'd like to teach the world to sing, indeed.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:19 PM on January 2, 2010


Starbucks could have afforded to give $5 per video. This is lame.
posted by meadowlark lime at 7:21 PM on January 2, 2010


Oops. Link to the original episode posted. 22 episodes, and counting. Recommend starting at the first episode, and working your way back. Then buy the album. To pay for it, you could brew your own damn coffee, and stay out of frikken Starbucks for a couple days.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:32 PM on January 2, 2010


I posted it because I loved the concept of people from everywhere singing together - I didn't realise there was a Starbucks connection till the very end. I wondered how they coordinated it all. It was awesome to see professionals, amateurs, choirs, soloists, people from different genres get together and sing.
posted by divabat at 8:59 PM on January 2, 2010


What force would impel someone with food to share their food?

Fear has been the standard, at least since the invention of agriculture and taxation.


Forktine is obviously not the target audience for The Beatles' message of love, I think.
posted by hippybear at 10:08 AM on January 3, 2010


There truly IS nothing you can do which can't be done. So get out there and do things!
There IS nothing you can sing that can't be sung, so why aren't you singing all the time?


I've read this about ten times and it's hurting my brain. I'm a fan of the lyrics, which to me are just inspired bits of child-like nonsense. It's your analysis that confuses me. Can you explain a bit more fully.

A. There is a set, P, of things that can be done.
B. There are no things-that-can-be-done that aren't in P.
----------
C. Therefor you should go out and do things?

I get how B follows from A, but I fail to see how C relates at all to A and B. If there WERE things you could do that can't be done, I don't see how that would change C.

In other news, I enjoyed the video. I like the song, I liked seeing all the people sing it, and I thrilled to the scope of the project (the song part, not the charity part). I don't really care about corporate relations to art or Starbucks' take on charity. I just like people singing stuff.
posted by grumblebee at 11:06 AM on January 3, 2010


Forktine is obviously not the target audience for The Beatles' message of love, I think.

Fuck no. Goddamn dirty ass hippies. "Love" my butt. Get a job and a haircut. I kid, I kid. Some of my best friends are hippies, I swear.
posted by Forktine at 2:07 PM on January 3, 2010


Cynicism makes you so much cooler than Starbucks and the Beatles. Please, Metafilter, tell us more about all things you think suck. I hear just doing that will cure AIDS.
posted by tkchrist at 2:58 PM on January 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean, yes, he did write I Am The Walrus and Strawberry Fields and In My Life but he also wrote Revolution #9.

Which you really need to hear in mono before you put it down.

You think I'm kidding. But, no.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:59 PM on January 3, 2010


All you need is love unless you have no food then you need love and food. Also, you need water and shelter.

Good lord! My dad is back from the dead and posting on Metafilter!

Actually, Bonzai, it's a little known fact that Lennon originally wrote the song exactly as you've put it above, but it took an 13 extra bars of 7/4, PLUS an extra 2 and 1/2 beats to fit it all in. It was originally recorded that way, in fact, but George Martin is reported to have called it "a bit difficult", and put his razor to the tape. If you listen very closely to AYNIL, you'll hear the edit on every chorus. Once you know where the edit is, in fact, you'll never hear the song the same way again.

I recommend the mono version, by the way,

posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:10 PM on January 3, 2010


You think I'm kidding. But, no.

Or mad.

Look I'm not saying the man didn't have an amazing batting average but he didn't hit 1.000, none of them did.

Well... maybe Paul. The man wrote Yesterday after all.

I think that should count for extra credit.
posted by Bonzai at 8:01 PM on January 3, 2010


Paul?

Well, I give up.
posted by Miko at 8:15 PM on January 3, 2010


Or mad.

The sound collage that was Revolution # 9 was a piece of music with many precedents. Musique concrète and other electromagnetic tape music had been happening already for a long time. Lennon (along with Ono Yoko) just tried a bit of it himself, and though he was no Edgard Varèse or Pierre Schaeffer, I think he did a reasonably commendable job working within the form. I happen to think that, above and beyond questions of its quality and worth as a piece of music, Lennon is to be hailed for his putting it on a Beatles record. It was, without a doubt, the most "revolutionary" piece to ever appear on a Beatles record, I mean, it really came out of left field, appearing on a pop/rock record. Nobody expected anything like that, and he was actually damn brave to do it, IMO.

At any rate, for you to characterize someone (jokingly, I reckon, but still...) as "mad" for enjoying such music (or any kind of music) casts you as ignorant of some crucial developments in music within the last several decades, and, if I may say, as rather intolerant and/or unimaginative. Personal taste in music really doesn't qualify as madness, my friend. The world of enjoyable sound is very, very wide!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:16 PM on January 3, 2010


All you need is love unless you have no food then you need love and food. Also, you need water and shelter.

The more I read this quote, the more inspired I got. So, I recorded a version of it and put it on MetaFilter Music.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:05 PM on January 3, 2010


You know I was just teasing about the "All you need is love" line right? It's a great sentiment and I, in actuality, do take it in the spirit and meaning in which it was intended. Also, I get that #9 was a commendable experiment pushing the boundaries of mainstream pop music. It is, in a way, the perfect song for that album in such that The White Album was kind of a mess with all the members kind of going off on their own creatively. If ever a song belonged to an album it was that one. I do find it kind of self indulgent and not my cup of tea but I can appreciate the attempt.

However when I say, "There is nothing you can do that can't be done. There is nothing you can sing that can't be sung. etc." is meaningless I am being quite serious. At first brush it SEEMS deep. For quite sometime I tried to figure out the meaning that was eluding me.

Anything you do is possible to do.

Again I say, no shit.

However.

If I am willing to give Paul a pass for all of his missteps because of the "extra credit" he earned for Yesterday then Lennon should get infinite Get Out of Jail Free cards for Imagine alone.
posted by Bonzai at 8:55 AM on January 4, 2010


But I think the greater good here is that it manages to succesfully connect the entire world with a single purpose. You can't help but feel hope when you see children from the Marshall Islands, a musical group in Afghanistan, a seniors group in Canada, etc. singing the same song, with the same desire in their eyes, for improved healthcare in developing countries

Bingo. I don't mind saying my eyes tend to leak when I see stuff like this. So fucking what if the impetus is some cynical corporate PR stunt? Good shit is happening because of this. More money is going where it is so desperately needed. Is it as much money as could be going, or should be going? No. Is it more money than was going before? Yes. And that's what matters.

All you whiners bitching that it's not enough money are missing the point entirely. Starbucks doesn't have to do this. Starbucks' only responsibility is to its shareholders. That's it. Nothing more. So to complain that they are not giving enough? When they don't have to in the first place? What have you done? Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying corporations are altruistic; this is a marketing ploy with a cost/benefit analysis, and I'm not pretending otherwise.

So how about before whining and moaning that Faceless Corporate Entity isn't doing enough to fight HIV infections in the third world--when they are not required in any way to do so--why don't you go do something tangible, hmm?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:56 AM on January 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cynicism makes you so much cooler than Starbucks and the Beatles. Please, Metafilter, tell us more about all things you think suck. I hear just doing that will cure AIDS.

This, too.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:57 AM on January 4, 2010


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