January 6, 2011

Starbucks, beyond words.

Image alone.

54 comments:

Scott M said...

Didn't Heavy Metal magazine do the same thing? Coincidence? I think not.

traditionalguy said...

Finally the illiterate will not feel left out anymore. Words are so snooty anyway.

Lincolntf said...

By Gaia, that's a damned fine cup of coffee.

shoutingthomas said...

God, this one just screams out for my buddy, Crack.

If that isn't New Age corn to the exponential, what is it?

Hippie earth goddess. Green to the gills.

Have at it, Crack.

Has Starbucks become a covert coven for witches?

Their coffee certainly sucks. Tastes burnt. They brew at too high a temperature, or use beans that are over roasted. Or Something.

The New Age witches must have cast a spell on the SWPLs to con them into drinking the shit.

edutcher said...

Maybe they figure guys don't get past the topless woman.

Lincolntf said...

God, this one just screams out for my buddy, Crack.

Good call. If I'm not mistaken, that star on her noggin is five-pointed, i.e., a pentagram.

Coketown said...

Words are a social construct anyway--a construct of the bourgeois variety, no doubt.

Mike said...

I just assumed that she was a Shakespearean character, because the name is one. Is she a mermaid? (I don't think so.) And if she is, are we to interpret that drawing as her splitting her own tail?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Looks stupid.

MadisonMan said...

Bad coffee. I don't care what the logo looks like.

SarcastiCarrie said...

I love that the name of the author of the article linked at WSJ was "Julie Jargon". She could go into politics with a name like that. Or law.

peter hoh said...

Are there any corporate logos that have gotten more wordy over time?

Ann Althouse said...

I like the wordless approach. It shows confidence. Great example: Shell.

Widmerpool said...

While by no means endorsing any other aspect of the Starbuck's experience, I will stick up for their coffee. The instant stuff they sell is crap, however.

Widmerpool said...

So do we have nominations for other products you would gladly buy with the stamp of the green goddess? Hot dogs? TP?

Schorsch said...

Lordy, the original design is quite prurient! The mermaid is more...inviting.

PatCA said...

When companies start nit-picking like this, it's a sign they are struggling.

Perhaps they have finally realized that true hipsters hate them (global corporation!) and won't buy their coffee, so eliminating the name will deceive a few of them.

Also, if they are reading: your pastries are terrible. Even worse now that you eliminated sugar and fat. A buck fifty for a tasteless cookie? Again, the hipster/food police force hate you anyway, so give us decent food. I will buy one at the grocery store next door for 30 cents and get your espresso, which is the best but just about topped at at $1.95. If it goes to $2, I'm gone.

Mike said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starbucks

Wow, Wikipedia actually comes through. The logo section is updated with the current version of the "twin tailed siren" character.
And I was wrong about the name origin. It is from Moby Dick.

Oh, and to answer Ann. Shell Oil company -- as you hinted at -- dropped their name from the famous shell logo in 1999.Nike has made many shows without their name on the shoe, only the "swoosh" logo. But Apple is probably the most famous, having switched to just the stylized crystal apple the last few years.

k*thy said...

The instant stuff they sell is crap

Perhaps, but it's the best Instant I've found to take backpacking.

shoutingthomas said...

Also, if they are reading: your pastries are terrible.

I'd go one better. Starbuck's pastries are inedible

Why does anybody spend money at that dive?

Panera has great coffee and pastries. Not to mention good soups and sandwiches that aren't larded down with fat and calories.

Excellent logo, too.

c3 said...

Reminiscent of the KFC change:

No it doesn't stand for "Kentucky Fried Chicken"; its just "KFC"

It would be interesting to quiz the average American as to what the three "M's" of 3M are. (let alone IBM, AIG etc. stand for)

And here's an example of the reverse phenomenon

Mike said...

Presently, many Web-based companies are known by their icons as much as their brand name: the Twitter "t," the "In" for Lined-In, the squat "B" for Blogger and the "f" for Facebook are ubiquitous. Even the "y" icon for Yahoo! is more often used than a fully spelled-out logo and link.

I believe that icongraphy counts for part of their branding.

markbres said...

Life imitates The Onion - http://www.theonion.com/articles/starbucks-to-begin-sinister-phase-two-of-operation,416/

EDH said...

In addition, the mermaid inside that circle is now larger.

What Starbucks should have done is give the mermaid nipples that peek out from behind her flowing hair.

PatCA said...

Agreed about Panera's, shoutingthomas, except their espresso is sort of bitter. But if I get regular coffee I go there and get one of their delicious pastries, too.

victoria said...

Don't drink Starbucks, Don't like Starbucks. I drink local. Here in Pasadena and environs we have about a half a dozen local roasters and (the Best 2) Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Peets. They are all superior to Starbucks in both content and cost. There are 12 Starbucks in Pasadena, at town of 150,000. Too many,especially for bad coffee. People who live in and around Pasadena, Jones and Kaldi.


Vicki from Pasadena

mariner said...

I thought Starbucks eliminated the nipples after feminists complained.

prairie wind said...

While presenting a Junior Achievement lesson to a fifth grade class, I mentioned the Post-it notes that 3M produces. A boy said, "Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing." I was surprised that he would know--but the whole class knew this. They had recently toured the local 3M plant.

traditionalguy said...

Poor Starbucks. They now have all of the McDonalds stores competing with them. And McDonalds' coffee is better coffee at a lower price and it is served without all of the drama.

Beth said...

Sheela na gig.

Beth said...

Starbucks pastries are props. Don't try to eat them.

Their coffee is over-roasted and scorched.

But if I'm driving through bum-fuck Egypt and it's a choice b/w the 'bucks and a cup of weak coffee with a bean on a string, dragged through hot water a few times, I'll drive through the Starbucks. Other than that, pfffft.

Dunkin' Donut, on the other hand, has some great dark roast. There aren't any in the NOLA area, sadly, but we're all set for great coffee shops.

Kirk Parker said...

I'm just disappointed she's not open-carrying.

And c3, how does 3 for 3 sound?

dont tread 2012 said...

"33"

Palladian said...

Starbucks coffee is unpleasantly over-roasted. But like Beth says, it's better than the dirty dishwater variety usually available in the hinterlands and wildernesses of the world.

Starbucks got ruined because it had to cater to women, hence all the hideous syrup-laden, cream-topped, flavored "coffee beverages" that are now the core of their business.

But there's so much better coffee available out there, though if I'm drinking plain brewed coffee I prefer my own.

And the logo isn't a "New Age" thing. It's a common Renaissance-era representation of a twin-tailed siren or mermaid.

Palladian said...

New York's starting to get great coffee, but is still sadly deficient of comfortable coffee houses where you can sit around. I guess the hipster yuppie scum just don't have time to sit down, and the rents are too high to afford the space just selling coffee.

Mark said...

IMHO, Starbucks dropped the coffee from its coffee from the beginning, replacing it with some vaguely coffee-like nasty hot fluid.

knox said...

Starbucks coffee is unpleasantly over-roasted.

It is foul. I knew someone who called it "Charbucks."

c3 said...

Clearly everyone loves to hate on Starbucks. Makes you wonder why they're so successful. If I didn't know better I say you all are a bunch of

elitists

Ironic since there was a time when only elites would pay four bucks for a cup of coffee.

Vicki;
Don't drink Starbucks, Don't like Starbucks. I drink local. Here in Pasadena and environs we have about a half a dozen local roasters

Shorter version: It's a big company and by definition BAD

I assume you don't shop at Walmart and cringe whenever you have to use Google for a web search.

always buy local!!

the rallying cry of...

victoria said...

C3, you turd, I actually shop at Target, which I love, order from Amazon and shop at Sears, Lands End and many other "big" places. We do not have a Walmart within 25 miles or I would probably shop there. I do about 80% of my shopping on-line and use Google as my main search engine.
However, when ordering my coffee and there is a better, local alternative, you bet I buy local. When convenience is all important, you bet I buy convenient.

As always, you know nothing. You are an il-informed ignoramus. Keep up the good work.

Vicki from Pasadena

Mark said...

Clearly everyone loves to hate on Starbucks. Makes you wonder why they're so successful.

They became so successful because they sold an atmosphere/experience; the hot (and later, iced) beverage was incidental.

I'm sure I've made fun of politicians talking about "branding" here at Chez Althouse, but in the real world doing it right and maintaining consistent standards is critical to success for any business, and especially one built on a franchise model. Their coffee sucks; their business skills rock.

Starbucks' problem is that they've been so successful in refining their model that local shops that sell better coffee can basically copy the formula, eating into both Starbucks clientele and (maybe more importantly) franchise growth potential. Hence the campaign to branch out onto supermarket shelves.

Beth said...

Shorter version: It's a big company and by definition BAD

That's a kneejerk assumption, and it fails.

I dislike Starbucks because their quality is lacking. I buy coffee from other coffee shops for about the same price and get better quality. The same goes for pastries. I have no idea why Starbucks scorches their beans or serves cardboard scones, but they do.

Beth said...

Of course, I'm prejudiced. New Orleans is a port, and one of the biggest imports is coffee. There are local roasters and sellers galore, dating back to well before the modern coffee shop craze. The coffee break was invented here as a marketing tool. We are serious about coffee. Starbucks does just fine here, but nowhere near dominates the market.

If you ever find yourselves in these parts, look for CC's, PJ's and Cafe du Monde, and you'll be very happy.

Mark said...

Beth, Starbucks started out very shoe-string, IIRC. They used roasted beans that no one else would buy because they were cheap. The brilliant thing was then to focus not on plain coffee, but espresso-based drinks that included a lot of milk which masked the flavor. Their "base" coffee still follows this profile (consistency) but their specialty coffees are quite a bit better now, and the beans you buy in the supermarket, while nothing special, aren't bad either.

Beth said...

Mark, I had no idea. That's a fascinating story, and it explains a lot. But why mask bad coffee when you can get good coffee? I am perplexed.

Conserve Liberty said...

Good luck with that.

Until today my eyes stopped halfway through Star . . . and I knew what to do. I have no idea what the mermaid means.

Now, Land o" Lakes' Indian Maiden . . .

Mark said...

There was a beautiful ad campaign years ago with examples of old paradigms crossed out with innovative new paradigms, sketched out on napkins. One had a simple drawing of a cup of coffee, and "$1.00" underneath it. That drawing was crossed out. Beside it was another drawing of a cup of coffee, and beneath it "$4.95".

Starbucks was selling the idea of a hip European-style coffeehouse. Their target audience was totally different than the typical "grab a cup at Dunkin Donuts and run" consumer. It's always good to find an unfilled niche in a market.

(The funny thing about the campaign is I remember the ads, but not the company they were advertising. I think it may have been a now-deceased top-tier consulting firm.)

Beth said...

Mark, your memories pretty much fill in for me why my reaction to Starbucks is wholly quality based. The idea of an espresso and cold coffee drink menu wasn't innovative, at least not by the time the chain made it here to New Orleans.

This modern evocation of the European coffee house, to my memory, came to New Orleans in 1978, with PJ's (named for Phyliss Jordan, the proprietor). This being a hot climate, her cold-pressed iced coffee became the big seller, but she also sold espresso drinks. Since then, Community Coffee (a 90-year-old coffee company) has built up a chain of coffee houses; Rue de la Course is another, and it nurtures that European-style approach. There's a bunch of them.

But these fit in to an already robust coffee culture here, starting with Cafe du Monde. Italian gelaterias and bakeries have always served cappuccino and espresso. The first time I had Starbucks was in New York, I think. I was not impressed. I see how they have built up a good business model; too bad they don't have great coffee to go with it!

PatCA said...

Why is buying "local" better than buying from anywhere else?

Beth said...

I don't know that it always is, Pat. But when I can, I do. I like supporting my neighbors and community; I started paying more attention to that after Katrina, since I wanted to support people who returned and worked to restore their businesses. More than anything, I get good products locally. But I don't let the absence of a local product keep me from buying, though - there aren't local scallops, or raspberries, for example.

virgil xenophon said...

Beth/

THE BEST coffee in N.O is a little local independent roaster that's been at the same place in the Bywater since 1925 called "Try-Me" Brand. (NOT big on P.R.--they used to sell it in brown paper bags w. a red-ink stamp/logo/name.) They supply Rue de la Course, Antoine's The Sun-Ray restaurants (LUV 'EM), Court of Two Sisters, and Cafe Degas, among others.

I first experienced the brand as a security guard while in grad-school at Tulane circa 74-75 when I pulled a 12 hr shift one Sat.at a small local meat-packer off Poland Ave. They had a big pot brewing all day and I was alone. I couldn't get enough and I'm not even a coffee drinker! Needless to say, by the end of the day I was wired! Google it--they have a nice write-up about Co & owner--been in same family since the beginning.

Beth said...

Virgil, I'll do more than Google, I'll make sure I get my hands on some. Thanks for the tip. I bet you saw some interesting things on that job.

Beth said...

Now you have me wanting brunch at Cafe Degas. Next payday!

Beth said...

Googled! Virgil, that's a third-generation business now. Good to see the family has passed it down.

c3 said...

Victoria;
I apologize.