June 17, 2002 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Starbuckling A writer from the NY Post calls Starbucks HQ and says a reader told them that the company's "collapse into cool" ad campaign was too close a reference to Sept. 11 (the campaign posters featured a dragonfly; perhaps the reader misconstrued it as an airplane). As a result, Starbucks pulls the ad, and just to cover its ass said it "had intended no link between the image of the beverages and the terror attacks." Is the company just making a cautious PR move, or is this going too far?
posted by risenc (27 comments total)
"As a responsible company, we want to ensure that nobody is offended,''

I'm horribly offended by the fact that Starbucks takes my money everytime I try to get a tasty beverage. In a post-9/11 world how can any responsible company be so inconsiderate?!!?!
posted by betaray at 12:36 PM on June 17, 2002

Does any one have a pic? I haven't seen it. But my first reaction would be that people are too sensitive.
posted by tomplus2 at 12:43 PM on June 17, 2002

I have seen the ad. Bill Maher had it on his show, as well as it being posted in the stores. It was a variation of this graphic formation. It looked quite unintentional. I think people are just looking to be offended for offense sake.

If I fold a twenty dollar bill a certain way, it looks like the twin towers, does that mean we recall all twenty dollar bills in circulation?
posted by benjh at 12:48 PM on June 17, 2002

Definitely way too sensitive. This is up there with CBS bleeping out "collapse" (or some synonym thereof) from a post 9/11 episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show.
posted by artifex at 12:49 PM on June 17, 2002

or, it could be some graphic designer's almost-successful attempt at jamming. if so, that's a pretty interesting statement.

we now return you to your regular non-speculative life.
posted by dorian at 1:01 PM on June 17, 2002

i saw Mahers show on this too. The most insensitive, idiotic ad ive ever seen. The dragonflies were coming in about the same way as WTC tragedy-'collapse into cool' ???!!! One must see the ad to truly despise these people. BOYCOTT STARBUCKS- by any means available
posted by clavdivs at 1:05 PM on June 17, 2002

Image here.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 1:06 PM on June 17, 2002

Of course, they don't really need the ad campaign anymore, anyway -- they just got more publicity for the chain and the product than the campaign ever could have raised by itself....
posted by mattpfeff at 1:09 PM on June 17, 2002

"As a responsible company, we want to ensure that nobody is offended''

hmm...I know a fair few people over there who are offended that their local coffee house got run out of business...
posted by i_cola at 1:14 PM on June 17, 2002

does that mean we recall all twenty dollar bills in circulation?

Yes. Please email me for the address to send them to.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:17 PM on June 17, 2002

Hmm. . . a 2-step viral marketing technique?

1. Print up some posters that look about as much like the twin towers as my twin buttocks.

2. Make a phone call.

That, or somebody's been drinking *waaay* too much coffee.
posted by groundhog at 1:18 PM on June 17, 2002

This reminds me of when the Ford Astro minivan (wasn't that the name for it?) had a commercial that likened it to a spaceshuttle taking off...the Challenger explosion took care of that ad campaign pretty quickly.

I must say that I agree that it is a little sensitive, and that if you aren't looking for it, the connection would likely not occur to you.
posted by adampsyche at 1:27 PM on June 17, 2002

Without use of the word "collapse," this would have never stirred anything up. As it is, this ad just *barely* says "WTC" to me, and I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it if it hadn't been explicitly pointed out.

Hey, so if the dragonfly is the plane, what are all those butterflies, then?!

Frankly, if they'd used "collapse into cool" and showed their drinks resting in lounge chairs, it would've made for a much better ad...odd choice of words for an odd ad; maybe someone *is* "jamming..."
posted by metrocake at 2:37 PM on June 17, 2002

I also think complainers are a bit too sensitive. On the other hand, I don't think Starbucks ads are just cranked out without any thought. Someone, somewhere throughout the design, approval, release, etc stages must have picked up on this. And maybe I'm stupid but I don't see how the visual of the ad ties in with the tag line "Collapse Into Cool".
posted by gfrobe at 2:39 PM on June 17, 2002

You've got to be kidding me.

How are we as a nation supposed to heal if every time someone -- anyone -- is reminded of the tragedies of 9/11 that reminder is instantly removed?

Beyond any memories the phrase triggers, "collapse into cool" is just a stupid tagline. The alliteration seems to be the only thing going for it, and metrocake is right, it doesn't really match the imagery.
posted by me3dia at 2:44 PM on June 17, 2002

I think that mathowie should change MeFi right away.
When I look at the front page, there is a tall, thin bar on the right hand side that looks like one of the WTC buildings. What makes it really heartless is that the word "collapse" is printed right at the top!

Until such time that the changes are made, I am urging everyone boycott this site!

Or at least as long as you can before you forget or get bored and come back again.
posted by grum@work at 2:47 PM on June 17, 2002

The Gutenberg Bible should be pulled off display immediately...
posted by evanizer at 3:30 PM on June 17, 2002

Hehe ... good one, Evan.
posted by artifex at 4:03 PM on June 17, 2002

Some days I'm utterly pleased to be alive. Evanizer, you made me laugh until I choked.
posted by Sallyfur at 4:03 PM on June 17, 2002

Now don't get me wrong - I hate Starbucks as much as anyone, but I can't figure out how they could possibly stand to "capitalize" on anything by using imagery reminiscent of the WTC disaster. There would be absolutely no reason for them to do so. There are plenty of real reasons to hate Starbucks without making stuff up.
posted by Samsonov14 at 4:13 PM on June 17, 2002

Oh, that's excellent, evanizer.

For what little it's worth, I can't see any resemblance in the Starbucks poster even when I know what I'm supposed to be looking for. As far as I can tell this is Starbucks doing the good marketroid's thing when confronted with hysteria: make a big show out of it and thereby score lots of free PR.
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:37 PM on June 17, 2002

Is seeing the WTC in random objects replacing the old habit of seeing Jesus on tortillas and woodgrain doors?
posted by Xkot at 7:34 PM on June 17, 2002


-Opus, in the punchline of a mid-80's Bloom County comic strip.
posted by Poagao at 7:53 PM on June 17, 2002

Another case of someone, somewhere, deep in the bowels of Starbucks corporate offices, being completely over the top in their need to be PC. Screw them.

I will never, ever buy a latte again. Well today at least.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:48 PM on June 17, 2002

I love it when evanizer gets medieval on our collective ass...
posted by i_cola at 3:08 AM on June 18, 2002

'collective ass'. a 3-piece in baltimore yes. drummer is real big, like krupa alot, krupa this, krupa that. I must admit, Shadowkeepers linked image looked different a bit (su-prise, su-prise) different from when Maher held it up and when i saw it, the linked jpeg seems cropped yes? (no second dragonfly?) So the poster is a bit more ambigious. but still, ive never drank starbucks, never will. Go to Boarders i say.
posted by clavdivs at 8:16 AM on June 18, 2002

What does 'Jammin' mean?

ie: "odd choice of words for an odd ad; maybe someone *is* "jamming..."
posted by Latitude11 at 11:39 PM on June 18, 2002

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