Starbucks' Naked Woman Logo leads to Boycott Call by US Christian Group
2 June, 2008 – Starbucks has been strongly criticised over a new logo, which critics claim is offensive.
The US Christian group, The Resistance, has called for consumers to boycott the US coffee giant after saying its new logo has a naked woman on it with her legs “spread like a prostitute”. The group added Starbucks should call itself “Slutbucks”.
But Starbucks has said the image, which is based on a 16th century Norse design of a mermaid with two tails, is not inappropriate. Instead, it is actually a more conservative version of the original design that hung above the chain’s first store which opened in Seattle in 1971.
The image is appearing on some of its cups as a promotion and will continue to be used for several weeks.
Starbucks owner Howard Schultz has described the logo as “bare-breasted and Rubenesque”, adding it “was supposed to be as seductive as the coffee itself”.
Starbucks, which has just opened its first outlet in Argentina, has some 16,000 coffee shops in 44 countries.
The logo is an image of a "twin-tailed siren" (the siren of Greek mythology).The logo has been significantly streamlined over the years. In thefirst version, which gave the impression of an authentic 15th centuryEuropean woodcut,the Starbucks siren was topless and had a fully-visible double fishtail. The image also had a rough visual texture. In the second version,her breasts were covered by her flowing hair, but her navelwas still visible, and the fish tail was cropped slightly. In thecurrent version, her navel and breasts are not visible at all, and onlyvestiges remain of the fish tails. The original "woodcut" logo canstill be seen on the Starbucks store in Seattle's Pike Place Market,and on both the House Blend and Decaf House Blend packaging.
At the beginning of September 2006,Starbucks temporarily reintroduced its original brown logo on paper hotdrink cups. Starbucks has stated that this was done to show thecompany's heritage from the Pacific Northwest and to celebrate 35 yearsof business. The vintage logo sparked some controversy due to thesiren's bare breasts. In September 2006, an elementary school principalin Kent, Washington reportedly asked teachers to "cover up" the mermaid on the retro cups.In early April 2008 Starbucks introduced a modified version of itsoriginal brown logo on hot beverage cups and holding sleeves with the'Back to Basics' campaign. The modified version features hair coveringthe nipples of the siren. In spite of these modifications to theoriginal logo, a group from San Diego described the logo as a "naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute" and called the company "Slutbucks."