Is the Starbucks mermaid the new Paris Hilton? As mentioned on Crosscut, the quality of Starbucks' new everyday Pike Place blend is the subject of discussion, but so too is the company's "new" iconic, retro logo. In use for at least a few more weeks as part of Starbucks' effort to reconnect consumers with the chain's funky, regional roots, the logo is a version of the company's original. The big news: the saucy siren's boobs are back!
The evolution of the Starbucks logo is a topic widely discussed on the Web (see hereand here and here). The original brown "cigar band" logo showcased a double-finned mermaid. This morphed into the more abstract, and more discreet, familiar green circular logo that eliminated the siren's belly button, breasts, and her (some would say obscenely) splayed double fins. The retro logo is similar to the original: Her breasts are present but lightly covered with her long hair.
That's not good enough for some people. A spokesperson for a Christian group in San Diego called The Resistance says the logo "has a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute. Need I say more? It's extremely poor taste, and the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks." A press release goes on to lump the coffee siren with such celebrity exemplars as Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, and Tom Cruise, who have also been targeted by the group.
The Resistance's Web site suggests that it's less a moral force than the project of a conspiracy buff with a sense of humor named Mark Dice, who, when he's not railing against Starbucks, is calling right-wing talk shows to complain about George Bush's satan worship as a member of Yale's Skull & Bones. If nothing else, they've given the new logo some new cred like a Hollywood movie condemned by fundamentalists. It just makes you like it more.
Marketing experts have also debated the logo, one noting that swapping brown for green is a fashion faux pas: "As a color it's so much less distinguished than the green, and the green conveys both a friendlier and more upscale image," says one. Others say the new logo is too cluttered. And one Arizona consultant has this take on it:
"Seattle is known for people who like the peace pipe and this looks like the work of someone smoking some while watching A Fish Called Wanda in the Pink Taco Restaurant," said Jason Rose, president of Scottsdale-based Rose & Allyn Public Relations.
Smoke the peace pipe, Seattle, you've just been dissed.