I can thank Starbucks for introducing me to the world of overpriced, generic, frou-frou coffee drinks. I’ve been weaning myself away for some time now, trying to stay loyal to the seemingly more genuine Peet’s. (Except for Gingerbread Latte season, then I am seriously tempted.)
Love or hate them, you have to admire their merchandising chutzpah. They have turned coffee into an acceptable-to-any-demographic product, with a gift card appropriate for everyone on your list. They are the McDonalds of coffee houses….no matter where you are in the country—or the world—you know that the experience will be the same. The generic, pleasant, clean, coffee house experience.
So maybe the new logo does make sense.
Really, that’s all you’ve got?
My first thought when I saw the logo was….nothing. My second thought was, “wow, I hope they don’t actually have to use the logo anywhere.”
I miss the type. While not an example of typographic genius, it did establish the category. And it distracted us from the split tail/leg/fin girl, who on her own, is actually a little disturbing.
I read that they made the change because they are selling more than coffee (more here). According to the article, the values Starbucks wanted to represent with the new logo were genuine, thoughtful, expressive, optimistic and engaging. Yawn.
My confusion is why they don’t want to leverage the coffee brand as a point of differentiation. Or why they didn’t use a new color palette (and use lots of colors! vibrant! alive! active!)?
The new logo can represent anything…a seafood restaurant or a hair salon immediately come to mind. Do they really have enough equity in the siren (as she’s called) to remove the identifying type? Take it off a cup of coffee, and put the logo on a hat, or a bike jersey, or a decal….would you get it? Is it anything? Or anything you’d want to ponder?
Today I was in an outdoor shopping mall and walked by a Starbucks. I peered in and wondered what the (many) folks in line felt about their experience. Because the brand is the experience, as we all know. I tried to define the brand as I was walking by, and all I could muster was “this is a warm, pleasant, clean place for consistency in coffee drinks.”
Their logo has never made much sense to me, and it’s never been a significant part of my experience, as a customer or a stockholder (yes, I’ve been there, too). But it did have some personality and a bit of “heritage”. I appreciate the evolution of their brand, and I even kind of liked the “clunkiness” of it. Starbucks owns Seattle’s Best, also recently redesigned, also generic, but clean. That makes sense.
A generic mermaid. Not so much.
Happy to have a Peet’s around the corner.
P.S. I do have coffee on the brain. If you love coffee, check out my new blog, Coffee|Served Daily (1000 cups of coffee, one photo at a time). So far, it’s Starbucks-free.