When Starbucks recently announced a change to their iconic logo, I took interest not only as an attorney specializing in trademark and advertising law, but also as a fairly regular consumer of Starbucks coffee (and, I confess, a Starbucks "Gold Level" card holder).
This article discusses issues pertinent to both and addresses some interesting theories behind the reasons and implications of logo revisions generally, as well as some thoughtful observations on the Starbucks logo change and the advantages of a wordless logo for a global marketplace.
Also, Starbucks has launched a mobile application allowing users to track the funds in their Starbucks stored value cards and to use their phones for payment—with the phone essentially taking the place of the card. It’s a cool and useful application, and seems to be perfectly suited for its targeted audience. I have the application downloaded and use it to track or reload my own card balance, which I am starting to find surprisingly useful. I’ve had a mixed experience with baristas who either handle my phone or refuse to handle my phone citing company policy. While the latter makes for a somewhat awkward counter transaction, I find it preferable. There is something very personal about handing over my phone (as compared to a credit card or Starbucks card), and given the amount of information we carry around on our phones, it seems like a security concern—especially if that phone is going in through a drive-through window. In any case, this functionality perhaps brings us one step closer to that promised future in which we pay for everything by using a single electronic device. One ironic twist to this, however, is that would-be users must first purchase a physical Starbucks card in order to establish an account to be accessed by their mobile application.