Newly leaked emails reveal Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz advising the Clinton campaign about how best to market Hillary Clinton’s “brand” to voters generally, and to millennial voters in particular.
Schultz reached out to longtime Clinton aide Cheryl Mills in July 2015 to give his advice on the state of the campaign. He would not publicly endorse Clinton for another two months.
Mills forwarded Schultz’s email to an unknown number of campaign staffers, including Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. The email was one of thousands from Podesta’s personal account published by Wikileaks on Friday and Monday.
In a reply to Mills’ email, Clinton aide Huma Abedin noted that the Starbucks CEO “has so much regular contact with [Hillary].”
In the email, Schultz, whose own name was briefly floated as a possible third party presidential candidate, expressed dismay that Hillary’s campaign “feels stale” and “feels ‘yesterday.'”
He also called it “concerning that the media is not on [Hillary’s] side” at that point in the campaign. (Polling has consistently shown that voters believe the opposite — that the media is biased against Trump and helping Clinton.)
“From the outside looking in, I see an old style start to the campaign that feels stale with very few signs of the kind of freshness and transparency that the American people (especially millennials) will need to trust and ultimately elect HRC as President,” Schultz wrote. “It’s also becoming very apparent and concerning that the media is not on her side. This will get only worse and not bode well for her as time goes on.
“She desperately needs the people on her side. And, although it’s early, the imprinting process has begun… And, I don’t like how it feels,” he continued.
“Her inner circle and the powers to be, need to reject the status quo, and understand how brands (and she is a brand) in the world we now live in are built. It requires a vision for the future that is steeped in truth and authenticity and builds an enduring emotional connection with the voters.”
“The rules of engagement for running for President have dramatically changed, accept it.” (RELATED: Leaked Emails Show Facebook Exec Shared Research With Campaign)
“Substance absolutely matters, but so does the form it takes. The campaign feels ‘yesterday.’ It’s too packaged and prescribed. The American people are longing for truth and someone to believe in.”
Schultz’s advice to the campaign? “Reboot the look of it all and the overriding message before its to late. The answer is not in the polls, it’s in her heart and her conscience. When she begins to truly trust herself and find her inner voice, and has the courage and conviction to share it with the world, things will change and change rapidly.”
“Encourage her to be herself. And, to embrace her core purpose and reason for being. That’s the lens it all needs to go through. It’s not politics as usual. Especially as it relates to technology and social media, but that’s a whole another story.”