We are now two weeks into 2011 and so far the biggest stories that caught my biggest attention are the rogue local cops and a coffee brand misfire. Starbucks, the world’s biggest coffee chain and every socialites and social climbers absolute haven for social significance, has formally announced they will be changing their famous green logo. The redesign will basically drop the texts “Starbucks” and “Coffee” and the motif will remain green leaving only the mermaid thing. But according to Starbucks insistence that thing is not a mermaid but a female siren – those beautiful creatures in Homer’s Odyssey who tempts sailor to their death.
The Starbucks logo has gone through previous changes in the past as illustrated below. Indeed they started it brown for coffees and teas.
“Throughout the last four decades, the Siren has been there through it all. And now, we’ve given her a small but meaningful update,” explained Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz on the company’s website about the logo redesign. “Even though we have been, and always will be, a coffee company and retailer, it’s possible we’ll have other products without our name on it and coffee in it.”
Obviously Starbucks is expanding beyond their severely overpriced coffee products because for all I know they’re also selling equally ridiculous expensive items like pastries, tumblers, membership cards and planners. The brand is so popular rich people just buy it anyway. That is a hard case for extreme capitalism where the logo is about identity, like a human face where people find the icon to the company and its products. A strong logo means a popular logo, and a popular logo means big profits and big money. Starbucks logo is so iconic they don’t even rely on TV and newspaper advertisements. I will not be totally surprised at all if I see Starbucks electric fans, Starbucks make-up, Starbucks soap, Starbucks computers, Starbucks shoes, Starbucks hotel and Starbucks condoms. And I reckon people will still buy them no matter how expensive they might be. This is a crazy planet!
However the public’s reception about this redesign has been predominantly negative, at least 90% of them. People don’t want the labels taken away because it’s familiar and they love it just the way it is. Others say it’s boring. I say this is corporate desperation! Don’t worry the company is doing very well financially they won’t go bankrupt for the next century. The logo is costing them millions in legal suits!
The logo over the years has suffered countless parodies and trademark violations from artists, pranksters and other companies alike. This is because of the logo’s inherent vulnerability. It’s so easy to copy and modify for artists and make funny parodies out of it, by the way they are bestsellers in the t-shirts sales. The worst case scenario is that some companies, coffee related or not, fashion their own corporate logo from Starbucks. They make their lawyers rich filing trademark violations one after the other, hundreds of them – and legal cases like that doesn’t come cheap. Well, that’s my theory.
I do believe Starbucks doesn’t have to change their logo as part of their climate change resolutions, I mean as a “sign of evolution to a point where we feel it’s more suitable for the future”. They don’t have to test their logo strength and make people see it and they suddenly crave for coffee. Instead, the people’s reaction will be “WTF!”
No to Climate Change, oh excuse me, NO TO LOGO CHANGE! Ha, I need to sip some coffee. ^_~