7 Reasons That the new Starbucks Logo is Wrong
Starbucks are changing their logo. They’re removing the roundel containing the words “Starbucks” and “Coffee” from the new one and are, instead, focussing on the mermaid part. This is in the hope that the mermaid, like the golden arches of McDonalds or the shell of Shell will come to be the easily identifiable international signifier of Starbucks, but the new focus on the mermaid is confusing and frustrating. Here are seven reasons why.
1. It’s Baffling. A mermaid is a fish-woman from the sea. Coffee is a beverage made by combining beans from the land and water from the sky, occasionally using bovine mammary excretions from the fields, and sugar from the Oompa-Loompas. The intrinsic nature of the coffee experience has nothing whatsoever to do with the sea, so the mermaid is unrepresentative. If I saw a mermaid my first thought wouldn’t be coffee. In fact, the thought coffee wouldn’t come in my top million thoughts on seeing a mermaid. It wouldn’t even come above fish fingers, bubble bath or owls.
2. It’s Misdirected. So who is the target market for mermaids? I have identified two. The first is my writing partner Jon, whose bizarre fixation with The Little Mermaid had been explored more than enough on this website already, and the second market is sailors. Drunken, sex-starved sailors. After all, it was they that would tell tales of strange and beautiful fish-women to while away their long sea voyages. There are two things I know about Starbucks. The first is that you won’t find Jon in them, and the second is that if you want to see a mob of inebriated and libidinous seamen, you’re unlikely to find them in an establishment whose principal attraction is free wi-fi, blueberry muffins and skinny mocha-choca-lattes.
3. Nudity. Mermaids don’t wear clothes, but (I’m presuming this, I live in far too cold a place to want to test this assumption) that if I attempted to drink coffee at Starbucks without any clothes on there would be two reactions. Firstly, awe. Secondly, I would be asked to leave. And the successive changes to the logo have demonstrated that Starbucks are also inconvenienced by this too, as the two most recent logos don’t have nipples. This is because there are parts of the world where an image of a nude fish-woman with nipples would cause offence, whereas removing the nipples of nude-fish women is a perfectly acceptable activity and probably fun for all the family.
4. Scales. A mermaid is a creature with delicate scales, but muffin-gobbling Starbucks customers (who are predominantly American) do not require delicate scales. They require substantial ones that go up to a big number.
5. Music. Starbucks has also branched into music publishing in recent years and the new logo is supposed to reflect that. But they’ve published Paul McCartney and Alanis Morrissette, and these artists (okay, one of them used to have a yellow submarine) have absolutely cock-all to do with mermaids. The sort of music you should be able to expect from an establishment with a mermaid as a logo is sea-shanties, a huge number of which are about mermaids. But I’ve never heard sea-shanties in Starbucks. All I ever hear is Carly Simon, who doesn’t even have an accordion.
6. Mermaids Can’t Drink Coffee. Mermaids live under the sea. The sea is made of liquid. Coffee is also made of liquid. This means that the one group of people that can’t enjoy Starbucks main product are mermaids. Because if you take even the largest cup size (venti) under the sea, it becomes a drop in the ocean. This would be a disappointing experience for any mermaid. And even if they could drink the coffee, they don’t seem to have anywhere to wee from. They would become bloated and crotchety.
7. Spoilsports. By focussing on the mythical fish-woman and removing the words “Starbucks Coffee” from their new logo, Starbucks have ruined all the fun that you can have with a green marker pen. And I suspect that this may have been the motive for change all along.