Howard Schultz, Starbucks' (NASDAQ:SBUX)  CEO, chairman, and president, has announced plans to unite customers who are frustrated with the recent "level of irresponsibility and dysfunction we are witness to with our elected political leadership."

In an open letter on Starbucks' official blog, Schultz earlier this week announced plans to "galvanize our customers, inspire our people and encourage the communities we serve to come together to take care of each other."

To do this, the company is initiating a "Come Together" petition that asks both the White House and Congress to reopen the government, pay national debts on time, and create a "comprehensive"  bipartisan budget deal by year's end. Customers have the option to sign the petition at any Starbucks location, or by liking the company's designated Facebook post.

Additionally, Starbucks is offering (for a limited time) a free tall coffee to any customer who pays for someone else's beverage, as part of its "Come Together" campaign.

In December of last year, the chain asked its employees to write "Come together" on cups to send a message to lawmakers about the damage being caused by the divisive negotiations over the "fiscal cliff."

While big brands generally steer clear of politics to avoid alienating customers, Starbucks and its outspoken CEO in recent years have run toward the spotlight by trying to gain a voice in national political issues.

But because the company's efforts are generally non-partisan and unlikely to cause controversy, marketing and corporate image experts say they burnish Starbucks' reputation as a socially-conscious company. What do you think about Starbucks' latest foray into the political scene? Weigh in using the comments box below.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Fool contributor Caroline Bennett has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.