movement, movement

Starbucks De-Branding

Posted in politics by amoslanka on August 29, 2009

Starbucks is making a move to “de-brand” themselves, obviously sensing the heat they’ve generated in an increasingly anti-corporate society that is simultaneously beginning to realize its mistaken faith in unlimited growth (read: suburban lifestyle). Sorry, make that unlimited growth on imaginary bases.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with Starbucks any more than I have with any other large corporation. Actually they’re known to treat their employees well, and can be considered the prime builder of generation-Y’s coffee culture (which has offered some positive effects). They have since become something a bit different: bad coffee (though I don’t care for coffee snobbery) and anti-trust grumblings are nothing to be surprised about. Watered down quality and insistence on expansion are the standard marks of growth. And then more growth. And then more growth.

Most of the public disapproval against Starbucks’ “experiment” is that, as one protest sign I found stated, “you can’t fake local”. What I see in this slick move is no different than the greenwashing in marketing nor any other attempt to capitalize on trends in popular culture.

Despite the claimed attempt to “give the community what they want” with initiatives like donation of baked goods to shelters, inclusion of beer and wine on the menu, and the featuring of poetry readings and live music, 15th Ave. Coffee and Tea will still fall into the watered down version of what a corporate directors think the community wants. I suppose thats ok for some, however, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the experiment succeed and further spread to more cities and markets. Markets, after all, reflect the desires of the people (though not an entirely objective spirit). The people, often enough, in pursuit of the ideal will settle for something short, something simply labeled local. Starbucks, being the stealthy businessmen that they are, know this, and are willing to give the people what they want.

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2 Responses

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  1. ash said, on August 30, 2009 at 12:22 am

    certainly it’s a biz and that’s how they’ll run, the trade of goods for money…yadda yadda.

    sure, i would definitely prefer my local venue coffee shop over starbucks, octane’s french press design coffee, and other alternative options along w/ the easy going environment, changing artwork, and wide range of indie tunes overhead make it the perfect spot for socializing, meeting, working or just staring.

    but on a night of rush …esp when i am going to work, starbux works just as good as any other…and if starbucks recognizes that it needs a new marketing scheme to please it’s crowd, great, at least they not being snobby sticklers. supply, demand, trade, money, corporate… like you, while i’m not a fan of the game, i can recognize the benefit it brings when in a competitive biz…at least, if it’s pleasing your audience.

    good stuff, amos.

  2. amoslanka said, on August 30, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Exactly, Ash, Starbucks is in certain veins doing nothing more than pleasing their audience. The soupy muck of consumerism, watered down and rotting, carried out by corporate America is little more than a projection, a sign, an effect of the culture it represents.


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