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by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

Article first published as
Starbucks Siren Gets a Facelift at 40
on Technorati

The problem with Social Media is that it sometimes gives a bigger voice to the reactive minority. Such is the case with the announcement made yesterday by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

As part of several changes to move Starbucks forward for its 40th anniversary, the company is changing the logo for the first time in almost 20 years. They have simplified the logo by removing the words, “Starbucks Coffee” and the circle around the mermaid…technically she is a Siren.  She is bigger and she is now green (originally black.)

(Starbucks Web Announcement)

Based on some of the reaction on the web you would think that Mr. Schultz had just sent naked pictures of himself to Katie Couric. Among the comments on the Starbucks website were the following:

Starbucks Logos through the years

MimiKatz:  “Who’s the bonehead in your marketing department that removed the world-famous name of Starbucks Coffee from your new logo?”

Rbailer:  “…Why is that companies always take away products or change them when eveythings going along smoothly…”

Jaga30:  “…let’s not kid ourselves–Starbucks has never been the brilliant marketing mastermind of the Northwest.”

There were several comments of support for the change, but that is not what most media outlets and bloggers picked up…probably because comments of support aren’t as newsworthy as reactive comments.

The reaction could, and probably was, expected. The announcement was sent out in an email to all Starbucks Gold Card members and they probably have the deepest attachment to the status quo, as well as the most severe caffeine addition. Change and caffeine don’t mix, (remember ‘New Coke,’) so no one in Seattle should be surprised by the drama.

The controversy will serve to create free publicity resulting in increased revenue. The only thing that Starbucks could have done better to engineer more publicity would have been to put breasts back on the Siren… is it too late to make another change?

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