To the best of our knowledge, Jonathan Stark is not affiliated with Starbucks in any way. Yet he came up with a certifiably ingenious way to help them sell more coffee. Simply scan Jonathan’s Starbucks card with your phone and use it the next time you’re hankering for a latte. Or, if you’re feeling a little generous, load it with additional cash so someone else can enjoy one “on the card.”

Sure, it’s a gimmick.jonathons starbucks card - creative gimmick

But it’s a very creative idea that does something I’m trying to do all day—sell things in innovative ways. So it’s hard not to be humbled by this, that and every other creative idea that comes screaming through the Google Reader on a nanosecondly basis. Not that clicking over to Facebook offers any consolation: Ads of the World is there waiting to show me brilliance at the same dizzying rate.

We’ve certainly come a long way from the days when poring over the Communications Arts advertising annual was the number one source of creative inspiration.

So what’s an occasionally self-respecting creative to do? Take a deep breath. Soak it all in. Then try to bring all that inspiration to bear on the next hour’s challenges—while sipping a complimentary cappuccino, of course.

*Update: Jonathan’s card was shut down by Starbucks due to social fraud concerns. No more free coffee—what a buzz kill!