I am a proud gold card member at Starbucks. However, as an avid coffee drinker, I certainly do not discriminate when it comes to my coffee choice, although obviously, I certainly frequent the glorious staple of the century, Starbucks. However, although I am a devoted drinker of my venti iced non-fat dirty pumpkin chai (a chai tea latte, made with skim milk and two pumps of pumpkin sauce), I was quite taken aback by the Adbusters campaign slurring against it. More than taken aback, however, I was quite befuddled by the arrangement of the quick #nostarbucks commercial.
Before watching the ad, I knew only some of the anger and frustration surrounding Starbucks. In our day and age, one of the hottest topics is obesity. There are basically millions of television shows, magazines, websites, and other forms of media focused solely on making getting healthy not only a necessity, but a trend that certainly won’t go out of style after Labor Day. After watching this ad, I first thought that it was focused on fighting with obesity and that was why they were focused so much on the “treinta,” but then as I watched and re-watched, and then watched it again, I realized that while obesity and sugar intake was an issue they fired off during their commercial, it was not the main focal point.
Although the ad flashed charts and other visual appeals alluding to the focus on obesity, what this ad really was focusing on was getting rid of big-ticket companies, like Starbucks. Starbucks is certainly not alone, however, hanging out on the hit list with big time chains such as WalMart. After analyzing the ad and doing further research, I understand the ad and see what the creators were trying to do, but their execution is still so confusing to me. While I can break down the elements of the ad itself, I still cannot decipher how the creators felt it would be effective.
The ad uses appeals first and foremost on the early show, where they exhibit how many ounces are in a treinta, which is one of the largest ploys of all. By showing the early segment in association with coffee, it will almost make you feel as if you drank that big coffee. And then, when that part is over, and the heart thumping, traumatizing loud music begins to blare, one continues to feel as if one has drank too much coffee. When one drinks too much coffee, it creates the sensation of having banged ones head against the wall around eight times. This consistent jarring blaring created a similar sensation, achieving the ad’s goal of making one seem overloaded on coffee. However, we were not supposed to be hating on the coffee, but in reality, the coffee and the hate against the treinta is actually a metaphor for the angst against big time corporations. What threw me off were the inartistic proofs of the charts of the stomach, maps showing obesity, and the interview on the morning show. However, while the ad used all of these inartistic proofs, one of them was even flawed, showing the treinta size in iced coffee, when Starbucks is not even offering that beverage in that size. Some of the artistic proofs were quite jarring, however, like the women wearing the red cloaks, signs turned crude, and of course one cannot forget the pounding music. Also, they flashed an image that said, “you ruin our neighborhood, we ruin your wall,” basically showing that this organization is trying to fight fire with fire, which I believe the ad depicts well. This ad is aggressive, and while not necessarily correct, it accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is make their cause memorable. Every time I walk into Starbucks, I will honestly remember that ad, even though it will not hinder me from utilizing my gold card.