Bert Lance

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

When Peggy and I moved to Center City Philadelphia nearly 20 years ago, around the block from our 1817 row house was a typical, tacky pizza shop on the corner of Fourth St. and raffish South St. Every morning when I walked the dog in the area, discarded pizza crusts and paper waste were all over the sidewalk and in the gutter. The dog was in hog heaven; I found it disgusting.
Suddenly the pizza shop was replaced by Starbucks. I was thrilled. Good coffee and terrific snacks. The enthusiastic young baristas (clerks who make coffee) are up and at ‘em at 4:45 a.m. preparing for the 5:30 opening. And the place is always clean and tidy. For 16 years, Starbucks has been a great neighbor and presumably profitable.

Many years ago, Seattle direct marketing guru Bob Hacker took Peggy and me on a sightseeing tour of his city and we stopped for a requisite cuppa Joe at Starbucks’ first store at the Pike’s Place Market. I felt part of American corporate history.

In Madrid several years ago, I was delighted to spy the Starbucks logo just down the street where I could bring a couple of coffees back to the room well before our out-of-the-way hotel dining room opened for breakfast.

At the Starbucks down the street from our hotel in Geneva, two small coffees, two blueberry muffins and a small bottle of orange juice was a whopping US$27.50, but hey! the little muffins were loaded with juicy blueberries and it was all lots cheaper than the US$3 per person continental breakfast at the hotel.

In fact, just about anywhere in the world, Starbucks is a welcome sight.

Now suddenly Starbucks’ has decided to change its logo. It is deleting the word “STARBUCKS,” deleting the word “COFFEE” and being represented by a naked green cartoony mermaid with a Miss America tiara and two fish tails.

Will she become the Nike Swoosh of world-class coffee?

I don’t think so.

“If it ain’t broke,” said Jimmy Carter’s budget guy Bert Lance, “don’t fix it.”

Good advice.

American shoppers love deals. We love bargains. We love to save money. We love coupons. Those free standing inserts (FSIs) loaded with discount—or “cents-off”—coupons that clog our newspapers every Sunday and give hernias to the delivery people are there for a reason: They move merchandise. In 2006, 270 billion coupons were distributed—roughly 2,500 for every household in the U.S. Wait in line at any supermarket checkout counter and you will see shoppers happily redeeming them. Kristina Davis of Marietta, Georgia, told Steve Lohr of The New York Times that by clipping coupons from the Sunday paper and redeeming them at the supermarket, she saves 30% to 40% every

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