The logo is the coffee purveyor’s attempt to return to the heady, pre-1987 era of relative innocence and unbridled expansion … minus the bare boobs that made the original logo (based on a Norse woodcut) so—to borrow one of the most odious business buzzwords ever uttered in a Starbucks—impactful.
Naturally, out in the blogosphere, it’s become a weight/self-image thing. Quoth a commenter at Starbucks Gossip:
What did shock me is the chubby mermaid on the cups. I guess I am so ‘affected’ by beauty in the media/fashion mags, I live in Dallas, that I was stunned [as] to how unattractive she is.
Weight-focused blog Big Fat Deal responds, bringing a hearty side order of sass:
Really? ‘Stunned’ by her unattractiveness? I thought this was an isolated comment until I went into my Starbucks in the morning and chatting with the barista, said I liked the new cups. (Not because of the mermaid or anything, in particular, I just like the brown color scheme.) She said, ‘Really? I don’t like them.’ Immediately the other barista said, ‘Oh, because of the chubby mermaid?’ That’s twice! Twice she’s been called ‘the chubby mermaid’! Barista number one said, ‘Not necessarily… it’s just that the logo looks kind of weird. The way she’s holding her tail… like, what’s going on there? It seems inappropriate.’
The Starbucks Chubby Mermaid: Ride the Controversy!