Sunday, November 4, 2007
Does it seem like Starbucks is everywhere? I feel like I see their logo everywhere I turn, from store fronts to ice cream cartons in the grocery store.
Have you ever wondered where the Starbucks logo came from? Take a look at it. What do you see?
I first saw a girl wearing a crown inside a green circle with Starbucks Coffee branded on it. Then I began to wonder what exactly was the point of their logo because this face did not seem to convey coffee in anyway. So I Google’d "Starbucks Logo" to find out exactly what this image meant (Google is my favorite online tool...I way overuse it!!).
Turns out this is not the first version of the Starbucks logo. Let me take you back to 1987, when the original owners of Starbucks decided to sell their coffee shop and Howard Schultz jumped at the opportunity to buy it. He currently owned an espresso café in Seattle named Il Giornarle. The original Starbucks Logo which was a UPS brown and originally named Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices and featured a two-tailed mermaid, also known as a siren. The siren is a mythical creature whose stories tell of luring fisherman through song. Starbucks is using the lure of female sexuality to draw customers to the coffee (Brand Autopsy). This is not where hidden meaning behind the Starbucks logo ends.
Originally the owners wanted to name the coffee company "Moby's Coffee" but coffee drinkers did not positively associate coffee with a whale. However the Starbucks name still has a strong relation to Moby Dick because Starbucks was the name of the coffee drinking first mate in the novel. The name also brings up the idea of stardom and big bucks- two very appealing points to consumers. Still digging deeper into the full meaning of Starbucks, you can find a character named Mary Coffin Starbuck (in a novel named In the Heart of the Sea: the Epic True Story which inspired Moby Dick). When dissecting her name, associations to Mary Magdalene, death (coffin), and even sounds like "coffee" are present. This may seem like a stretch to explain Starbucks' success, but isn't a company with a market value of $20.9 billion worth analyzing? I think so.
"The mermaid/siren may be a vestige of ancient myth and folklore, but its lure is as pervasive and as powerful as ever," and can be seen through Starbucks success. However, some people believed the logo was too lurid and sexually suggestive so when Howard Schultz was combining the logos he used the waves of the siren hair to hide her breast and later cropped the image so now you can only see part of the siren's tails and no navel. Even through the progression of change, the meaning behind this symbol still seems to attract coffee drinkers everywhere. (The Mermaid)