When you think of Seattle, what images immediately pop into your mind? Many of us think of their sports teams, the Mariners and Sea Hawk. Perhaps you envision the iconic Space Needle, images of Jimmy Hendrix and the Experience Music Project, or the white, multi-decked ferries crossing Puget Sound with Mt. Ranier towering above?….and rain, of course, lots of rain. It is not called the Emerald City without reason. Now, as a legal recreational marijuana state, that “Emerald” gains new meaning. Effective corporate marketing has likely imprinted famous logos onto our retinas for the City’s corporate giants that nest here: Nordstrom, Boeing, Amazon and Microsoft. However, I just bet your coffee loving brain unconsciously leapt to the pretty mermaid with her stripey mer-tail, outlined in a friendly green circle. After all, STARBUCKS is EVERYWHERE! In China in 1999 when piracy of lots of popular U.S. business ideas was rampant, Jacob and I waited at the wrong side of a huge mall for our tour group to gather…standing in front of a coffeehouse with an almost identical green mermaid logo… for a cafe called “Sunbucks”. No surprise, since there are over 1700 Starbuck stores in China and over 21,000 stores in the U.S.
The featured image repeated above pays homage to the original logo on the first store in 1971. Although that first coffeehouse has been moved two blocks away to be close to the popular Pike Place Market, the original image has been retained at the new location. Don’t you love the sassy, bare breasted mermaid, splitting her tail wide open? The brown and cream coloring and etched detail now seems so old fashioned compared to the the crisp green and white of the corporate logo. Sanitized for worldwide distribution, the poor gal has no boobs at all now! How is a gal supposed to be a seductive siren calling out to lonely sailors….with no boobs? Our coffee brains just respond to the familiar, repetitive image and we miss any further detail.