Monday, August 28, 2006

The Starbucks Phenomenon in the Philippines: A Social Status for Filipinos?

I've always thought that the female on the Starbucks logo was a friendly looking woman wearing a crown; I thought she was some sort of a fairy or Goddess of the coffee world, bringing restless nights, hyped up brains, and chatterboxes together. I knew she was somewhat naked, but I thought that was just the marketing exec's way of sexualizing their logo. Sex sells right? But do you ever buy coffee 'cause of that sexy logo? Probably not, but you know the image. You remember it.

Okay, so she's sexed up, at least that's what I think. It would have been better to see her boobs, right? But that's okay, the strategic placement of her long flowing hair tantalizes you. Here's one concept that my friend Mars from Hawaii told me about regarding this logo.
This female symbol is even more sexed up than I thought. She is actually a mermaid. I don't know why I never figured that. I guess I saw a half naked female, and that mattered most; I overlooked the tails. She's actually holding the fish part of her sexy physique. I never really realized that they were fish tails. But wait, why does she have two fish tails on the side? Mermaids don't have two fish tails. It's not a genetic defect.

Whoa! Her tails are spread open, like a girl woman spreading her legs open while holding them in that position. Yes, it's a sexed up mermaid! You're saying, what the hell are you talking about, that I must be smoking something, or on medication, right? Well I'm just relaying what my friend said; and I can see what she means now.

So her spread-open legs are supposed to give you that inviting feeling. That warm, inviting, comfortable feeling. Sort of like...coffee! What were you thinking??? Anyway, that's what she said. I better finish up this blog soon before I start to think of nastier things. Ha ha.

So this leads us to social status, and the pretenses of the Filipinos, my beloved Pinoys. Starbucks as a status symbol? It's really amazing how hanging out at Starbucks in the Philippines is supposed to mean higher social status. It's funny. I just go there to hang out and drink coffee when I'm bored. My old friend Paul goes there to study.

But at Greenbelt, and all the other corners of Makati and Manila, they say that if you're there, you belong to the rich, cool, astig, social crowd. Now combine that with a really expensive looking cellphone. And a Lacoste logo on your polo shirt. Voi la! You got a full blown Filipino trying to be the best he (or she) can be. Hey everybody, look at me, I'm at Starbucks. I'm important. I'm special. I matter more than you. What a funny, pretentious Filipino culture we have sometimes.

Why Pinoy? Why do we have to pretend? OK, I know, you're saying, well coffee here is expensive, and only we rich people and cool people hang out here. Sorry, but I don't view Starbucks coffee drinkers in that light. Starbucks is Starbucks.

I'll have my usual, please. Venti Moca Frap, light whip cream.

13 comments:

jhay said...

The logo is psychological, and yes, no matter where you go, sex does sell.

On the part about going to starbucks and it being viewed as a "social status symbol" well it is true. It's the truth, it is viewed as a social status symbol.

In the eyes of those who only have P50 a day for the entire family to feed on, a cup of coffee at Starbucks would be like winning the lottery or being given a big dole out by Willie Revillame on national tv.

And that is my point, if we are to live a just life or act in a just manner in every society, we must look at things through the eyes of the great majority of that society. In the Philippine society where the majority is impoverished and would even kill or steal for a sachet of instant coffee that fails in comparison to a brewed cup by Starbucks, you cannot avoid that stigma.

It's the truth, and it though it may hurt, it may seep in your mind, your conscience as you sip your Venti Moca Frap (I'm not referring to you really, I also happen to like that brew my self), it is still the cold hard truth.

Go out and carry a Starbucks cup and walk amongst the crowd in SM foodcourt and people would stare and look at you and if you can read their minds they would say that you are cool, rich and somehow important.

I agree that not all Starbucks patrons are pretenders, heck, I even go there myself every once in a while with my old 3530 phone, my worn out jeans and a plain t-shirt to boot just to have a good cup of coffee. But again, living in an impoverished country and having coffee at a first-world place does put you at odds in the eyes of the majority whom are your brethren.

Anonymous said...

yeah, i get you, cuz... i feel yah... i think filipinos are the most dressed up people drinking coffee at starbucks... ha ha.. and one more thing, what was the point of hanging and chilling out when all they do is use their cellphones as if they don't know the people they are with... a total lack of common decency! ha ha!!

Anonymous said...

yeah, i get you, cuz... i feel yah... i think filipinos are the most dressed up people drinking coffee at starbucks... ha ha.. and one more thing, what was the point of hanging and chilling out when all they do is use their cellphones as if they don't know the people they are with... a total lack of common decency! ha ha!!

MadMuse said...

That is puzzling to me. It really wasn't like that before I left Manila in 1999. My friends and I used to go to Starbucks because it was right across Shangri-la Hotel in Makati where we used to have church services every Sunday; and we just absolutely LOVED Mocha Frappuccino! Has the economy gotten that bad that it's now a status symbol just to go inside?! VERY SAD.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Filipinos have made Starbucks a status symbol. They don't really care about the coffee, they just want to be seen in Starbucks or carrying around anything with the Starbucks logo. It's pretty pathetic, and it's usually the younger ones who have this mentality.

cyberpunk said...

I agree, Filipinos have made Starbucks a status symbol. They don't really care about the coffee, they just want to be seen in Starbucks or carrying around anything with the Starbucks logo. It's pretty pathetic, and it's usually the younger ones who have this mentality.

Am said...

The main shepherd of Cavite, a sensible and humorous man, full of wits and wisdom said: "If I see one of my priests taking coffee in starbucks, I will excommunicate him on the spot!" He was joking yes, but he wanted to emphasize a point: The coffee planters of cavite are loosing their business. They have kids to send to school, they have to make both ends meet! Our Barako is one of the best coffee in the world and we prefer, under pretentious motives to go to starbucks! We dont really love one another as Filipinos.

Rhona said...

Filipino are showy people,they have this notion that a person's worth is measured with what she/he has. You can see people in the squatters' area with nokia cellphones eventhough they don't have anything to eat. ironic isn't? So, when Starbucks came here in the Philippines everyone seem to go loco over it because it is another chance for them to be seen drinking an expensive drink and hanging out in a place only the rich and cool people can. That's how showy Filipino are.

chelsi said...

probably same thing when you go to the slums here in manila and you could see an x-box and a 21 inch TV in their house. thats more than what we have. we dont even have TV! But really... its like a slap in the face when its true. I work in greenbelt where people are "chilling out" in starbucks. I personally know a person who likes hanging out in starbucks because its cool. come on... its just iced coffee plus an international name. when you put ice in blend 45... its the same thing.

Anonymous said...

starbucks means overpriced coffees to compensate things you can't actually buy. you have to try other stores that offer coffee that can justify the cost. delifrance i think would be a nice option.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know there are still some sane people around (all you guys). Going to a place just to "be seen" is straight out pathetic. More so just to show off that you can afford something overpriced. Buying something to make you look cool (poseur) will never make the person inside "cool." There's really nothing wrong going to Starbucks, unless the intention is just to spend more than you can afford and/or to look "cool."

zaccheo said...

Figaro is a local one. As I know, they were started with a group of friends (all filipino) with a passion for coffee. im sure there are others, its just i've forgotten their names.

and anyway, i dont really care about status or stuff. i just have the tendency to go to the nearest coffee shop, be it glorias, seattles or cafe mocha whenever i need to be awake (from puyat and/or stress) or want a place where i could draw peacefully.

joedmango said...

it is ironic how the one who goes to starbucks are those who are students, office workers, IT people and call center agents

while the rich businessmen just drink coffee at their own homes. Lets see who is the real rich guy there :)