Funny things happen to trademarks in the Casbah. John Burgess at the Crossroads Arabia blog has a story about a recent incident of Saudi Arabia’s religious police overplaying their considerable hand in connection with the arrest of a Saudi woman for having coffee with a colleague at Starbucks.
Not our topic. But this aside did grab me, considering the special attention Starbucks and its trademark adventures have gotten on this blog over the years:
Starbucks and the religious police have a bit of a history. When the company first arrived, its logo of a mermaid caused some consternation because some thought they could see breasts beneath all that hair. To avoid problems, Starbucks came up with another logo, a seahorse. [I do wonder how the police reacted when they learned that male seahorses give birth! Talk about â€˜gender bendingâ€™!!] By 2003, however, the mermaid was back on the signs, cups, and napkins. What happened to occasion that, I havenâ€™t a clue.
Perhaps she swam her way into their hearts, or their coffee cups. Or, more likely, the heat was off — at least for a while.
Now the heat is back, albeit on questionable grounds. You can be sure we will milk the story here for all it’s worth.
UPDATE: Oddly enough, this story has perked up once again. According to the And Far Away blog, the 1992-2010 Saudi Starbucks logo was not a seahorse, but this “a crown swimming in the sea” — here, you take a look:
The real story, though, says Roba Al-Assi, is the “chadorable” logo Starbucks al Saud is about to switch to — or, which, as she says in the post, she can only imagine….
I’m not sure all her commenter’s “get it” — maybe they hadn’t had their first cup yet.