First let me say that I like Starbucks. I love my coffee, and I’ve never gotten a bad cup at this franchise.
Recently, however, I was struck by the fact that we now live in the world of the “Mini Frappuccino.” This trendy 10 oz confection, available until July 6, is the newest part of the Starbucks culture.
I, like many Americans, indulge in the occasional frappe. It’s not something I’m super proud of, but I do try to save them for special occasions. I mean, those things have all the bad-good stuff: sugar, cold, whipped cream, caffeine and a brand name you can trust to be pretty similar at a variety of locations.
Initially, when I heard about the “Mini,” I was a little excited. A “Mini” surely means about half the cost and half the calories of a tall or grande size, right? A little less guilt? Wrong. Starbucks new “Minis” are only two oz. smaller than the 12 oz. “tall” and about 20 cents less….which means that your tiny Frappe will have at LEAST 120 calories (without whipped cream, of course) and will still probably cost about $4 with tax.
Then I stumbled across an ad for the Minis on the Starbucks’ Youtube channel which reveals something about their marketing campaign strategy. You see, prompts this ad, the point is not to indulge less with the Minis but to indulge more.
Now you don’t have to choose between two flavors (because that is a painful choice), you can have both. Americans now have the long anticipated convenience of spending $8 on two Mini treats (because, obviously, we deserve it).
I don’t know what your financial situation is, but for daily frappe drinkers who would chose to spend their money this way, the cost of two daily Mini frappes amounts to about $240 a month. On a treat…that’s not even food. I can buy all of our monthly groceries for less than that. But that’s not even the point really: I’m sure that very few people would actually buy two mini frappes a day (and I’m also not saying that I’ll never buy a mini).
The problem is the mindset behind this ad.
If it reveals the desires of the American people, it reveals a heck of a lot about what we think we deserve. Have our first world problems become so ridiculous? If you’ve ever read Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy, “this Mini Starbucks mindset” reminded me a bit of the way they party at the Capitol: while those in other districts starve, people at the Capitol binge, take something to make them purge, and then binge again….all so they don’t have to choose which food to eat.
Is it such a bad thing to think about how buying a frappe of any kind of size is a real indulgence, not a given? Is it such a bad thing to have to make a decision about which unhealthy and expensive reward we give ourselves? Is it such a bad thing to monitor how often we reward ourselves, or to stop and weigh the consequences of what we are consuming? Is it such a bad thing to think about the rest of the world, or to stop and realize that, in America , we may have taken “prosperous” to ridiculous and unsustainable extremes?
I’m usually not of a hyper-critical mindset, but this one really got to me….So, thoughts?