Starbucks- nonfat faux pas?

February 11, 2008 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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starbucks-logo.gifmary-kate-and-ashley.gifSomething happens to me when I pass the little brown and white building on the corner of Lincoln and Main streets in Kent, Ohio—the home to Starbucks.

I forget my New Year’s resolution to spend money wisely, forget that I have to be somewhere in five minutes, and I find myself standing in the line to pay four dollars and some odd change for a grande nonfat Cinnamon Dolce Latte, with the occasional extra shot of espresso.

starbucks-logo.gifstarbucks-logo.gifSo like many other Starbucks’ customers I was pleased to hear about the Skinny Platform, introduced this January. The Skinny Platform is comprised of three nonfat lattes made with sugar-free syrup. The perk is easy ordering for customers wanting to skip the extra calories.

mary-kate.jpgWhile wishing I had a latte on my early morning commute, I got to thinking about the Skinny Platform. Something  about “skinny” being used for a food product bothered me. I couldn’t help but picture tabloid magazines labeling high-profile celebrities as “super skinny,” with a chilling photo of a frail, young celebrity. Remember the Mary-Kate Olsen eating disorder days?

Is there a better name Starbucks could have chosen other than “skinny?” My brainstorming didn’t bring me to anything much better, but hey, I’m a student and Starbucks probably dishes out the big bucks for experienced PR people. I’m sure they there are some really creative minds somewhere in the mix.            

Most people overlooked the Skinny thing—a few remarks on blogs here and there. One angry barista gave her opinion on the Skinny Platform. She says that, “Without question, people will be leaping at the opportunity to file a lawsuit against the Starbucks Corporation for discrimination.” A month has passed since the Skinny took the spotlight and I couldn’t find any lawsuits as of yet.

 I don’t like the Skinny Platform, but I won’t lose sleep over it, and I won’t jump on the Starbucks-hating bandwagon.

So if I am:

  • Mildly offended by the Skinny Platform
  • Too poor to buy Starbucks
  • Too busy to stop and order it 

Why will I continue to drink it? 

I will continue to drink it because Starbucks does a good job of catering to its customers. Starbucks gave me free music downloads this fall.  The baristas never mess up my drinks. It offers nonfat options and a cozy atmosphere.

And you know what? The employees are really, genuinely nice to me.  It goes to show how Starbucks has done a good job of establishing relationships with its customers. It is allowed to make me a little angry, and I’ll keep going back.



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  1. You got my brain reeling now, Julie. Why would such a powerful brand use “skinny” in their new drink push? Intersting. But I suppose “Lite” is officially cliche along with “Low/No Carbs.” So I stand where you are, with no better suggestions.

    And as a fascinating factoid: Kent has one of I believe 3 two-story Starbucks in the country. It may be 4 or 5 but you get the idea.

  2. I am not a regular Starbucks customer but I do visit the coffee shop occasionally. I have never really noticed anything new that they have added to the menu either. I walk in an order my usual white chocolate mocha. I feel like I should pay more attention to what they add to the menu considering that they use the word “skinny” to describe things. I agree with you, I don’t like the concept of the skinny platform. It is sad to think our society today is so stuck on being skinny. Whatever happened to being healthy or having curves? Everyday there is another celebrity showcased on television displaying skin and bones, and influencing the youth of America to go to extreme lengths to become skinny. To many people today, being super skinny is healthy for some reason. Starbucks does not help the situation by marketing a new line of non fat lattes titled the “skinny platform”. This can only help people associate skinny or being skinny with being healthy, and I hope will all know that is not the case.

  3. For some reason the “skinny” platform doesn’t bother me. I think it would be like saying that non-fat or fat free milk offended me. When I think of “skinny” lattes, I only have positive thoughts. Positive because they are better for you, no sugar and skim milk. Maybe a better word would be “healthy”, or maybe not. I think the “skinny” platform works, and if it isn’t really offending anyone to the point of a lawsuit (yet) then why not. But I definitely agree with you on why broke and busy college students keep going back for more Starbucks. The employees, the drinks are yummy, and the atmosphere. I am really impressed with Starbucks’ internal communications; their employees are their biggest promoters. And I think that any company that can make millions of dollars with rarely advertising, must have a good PR department and therefore worth our time and money.

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